Nigerian President, Mohammed Buhari has violated the executive order on compulsory use of face masks and maintaining social or physical distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19, days after signing it.
News earlier reported that General Buhari, on Tuesday, signed the executive order in exercise of his powers under Section 4 of the Quarantine Act.
Part of the document states that “a physical distance of at least two metres must be maintained at all times between persons” and nobody should be in a public premise except “he is wearing a face mask covering the nose and mouth”.
However, the president failed to adhere to the order, which prescribes six months in prison upon conviction, on Saturday in Daura, Katsina.
Mr. Buhari had travelled to his hometown where he revalidated his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at his Sarkin Yara polling unit in Daura.
Although he wore the mask at some point, he was spotted amidst scores of people while holding his facemask rather than have it on, just as the physical distance of two metres was ignored.
The president, who was accompanied by some APC governors like Aminu Masari of Katsina and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, was spotted in the midst of others, as they discussed without maintaining a physical distance.
Similarly, one of the president’s aides Bashir Ahmad was spotted at a friend’s wedding in Bauchi on the same day, without a face mask or maintaining social distancing.
In some of the photos shared online, Mr. Ahmad, who did not initially wear a face mask, only did that at the point of taking photographs.
In his reaction, after lawyer Abdul Mahmud and other Twitter users attacked him for not practising what he preaches, the presidential aide said he is not a law enforcement officer.
”First, I am not a law enforcement officer, so there is a limit to what one can do. Secondly, I can’t love them more than they love themselves, ours is to encourage, advise and also tell them the consequence of their actions. Keep advising people to always wear their masks, please,” he said.
Nigerian officials have regularly disregarded regulations against the spread of coronavirus since the first case was confirmed in the country in February 2020.
Asides disregarding directives to wear nose masks and keep a sensible distance, some officials who returned from foreign trips have also failed to isolate themselves for seven days as recommended by the disease control office NCDC.
Yet, when the Nigerian government published a list of those who allegedly violated COVID-19 guidelines, no recognisable government official was on the list, indicating that the enforcement has only been targeted at ordinary citizens.
Recently, Nigeria has been battling the second wave of COVID-19, and, unlike the first phase, the country now records over a thousand daily cases.
Nigeria has a total 130,557 recorded cases with 103,712 recoveries and 1,578 deaths.