The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank has raised concern over the breach of COVID-19 protocol at the Emir of Zazzau’s burial in Kaduna state.
Shehu Idris, the Emir of Zazzau, died on Sunday at the age of 84.
In a statement on Wednesday, signed by Atedo Peterside, chairman of the foundation, and Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, its vice-chairman, the Anap Think Tank asked the Kaduna state government to also endeavour to control the huge crowd trooping to the palace for condolence visits.
“While the outpouring of emotion as evidenced by the huge crowds that spontaneously assembled around the palace is very understandable, given the high esteem in which the Emir was held, it was evident that all public health rules were forgotten,” the Anap Think Tank said.
“This leaves room to ask what government could have done to anticipate and mitigate the risks such an assembly must raise in this period of pandemic.
“The Anap Think Tank acknowledges the efforts of Kaduna State and its leadership in the area of non-medical interventions especially in encouraging social distancing, hygiene and wearing of face coverings. We acknowledge the leadership by example set by its government.
“This however makes the question more pertinent. If in a State where genuine efforts have been made to limit the spread of the disease in the community this dangerous event nevertheless occurred, then it highlights further the key importance of the authorities’ preparedness.
“We therefore wish to flag this issue as one that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) should urgently address and put in place clear strategies to prevent such a recurrence. The country is increasingly witnessing numerous incidences of social events where COVID-19 protocols are not being followed and a renewed clarification by the PTF would not be amiss at this time.
“We call on the PTF, the Kaduna State Government, and all concerned especially civic, political and religious leaders to take active steps to safely manage the crowds that are even now trooping daily to the palace for condolence visits.
“As we watch the world slip in varying degrees into a steep second wave of infection, this is not the time for Nigeria to relax in her efforts at controlling disease spread.”