By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), has warned political parties, State governments, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC), to ensure strict compliance to the COVID-19 protocols in the conduct of all political events in the country.
The warning is following the recent confirmation of more cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in several states, and the continued rising number of infections and hospitalization across the country.
According to a statement issued by the chairman of the committee and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, on Friday, Political mass gatherings serve as super-spreader events for the propagation of COVID-19 infection in our communities.
The statement read: “Such events must be carefully controlled to ensure maximum public safety, in terms of risk of transmitting the infection among the vulnerable population.
“The PSC wishes to reiterate the significance of the publicized INEC policy on the conduct of political events and the Code of Conduct for Voters and Political Parties within the context of COVID-19.
“The PSC therefore cautions all political parties to institute public health and social measures in all locations where political events will occur.
“These measures includes: Mandatory use of face mask for everyone attending these political events, as persons without face masks should not be allowed access to the venues; Hand hygiene facilities including soap and water/ hand sanitisers should be made available for people before gaining access to the venues.”
The SGF further added that “Enclosed venues should be adequately ventilated and must not exceed 50% of venue capacity and minimum of 2 metres should be observed among people at the gathering.
“If essential, multiple locations or time-slotting should be used with appropriate numbers of people to enable adequate physical distancing in each gathering per time.”
The PSC therefore called on all Political Parties, INEC and SIECs to ensure and enforce compliance of these provisions and other safety measures to protect the Nigerian population.