The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic says it is outraged by the non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols at the All Progressives Congress Benin rally and the funeral rites of ex-Ogun East Senator Buruji Kashamu in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State.
The PTF Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, who expressed his displeasure at Monday’s media briefing, said: “We are quite dismayed with the level of non-compliance when it comes to some of these activities.
“The issue is we know that COVID-19 does not act like proper pandemic, proper pandemic like Ebola you will have dead bodies on the streets, you had people bleeding to death.
“So that shock factor is there, you do not need to do anything further to convince people to protect themselves and to do the right thing.’’
Persecondnews had reported that hundreds of sympathizers and mourners had massed the Ijebu-Igbo country home of Kashamu to pay their last respects to the politician.
On August 8, APC had flagged off its campaign ahead of the September 19 governorship poll in Edo State at the University of Benin Sports Complex, in disregard of COVID-19 protocols which Gov. Godwin Obaseki had warned against.
Sani said: “So right from the beginning we were faced with a pandemic that is an invisible enemy, a pandemic where the majority of us will probably never come across someone with COVID or someone who may have died of the virus. So
“Right from the beginning we are facing the task of convincing people to change their risk perception with regards to a pandemic that is not as visible as other pandemics have been.
“We also have been very lucky in this country; we have not had the kinds of cases of deaths or mortalities that we have seen in other countries. Nevertheless, a lot of people have died, close to a thousand Nigerians that have died would still be with us today if not for COVID.
“I think the problem is not with the message, probably the problem is with the messenger, with the way we communicate, who is really delivering that message. It is certainly more effective if the message is being delivered by traditional rulers, religious leaders; village heads to provide that information that would enable you to protect yourself.
“We will continue to engage Nigerians, enlighten them and encourage them to embrace those simple steps that are necessary to protect themselves.
“When you wear a mask, it is an act of kindness, what you are saying is that you care about the people that you will meet and you don’t want them to be infected by COVID-19.’’
Sani added: “The same thing goes for physical distancing, it’s much easier to be proactive, it’s much easier for civil authorities to make sure that those situations that pose the risks of mass gathering are avoided.
“So if it comes to enforcement, you cannot enforce behavioural change for a long period of time, the only way you can ensure compliance with behavioural change is by convincing people that it is the right thing to do and that you are also protecting your loved ones when you do so.”