Presidency defends Buhari’s removal of mask in public.

The Presidency, on Monday, said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), did not violate COVID-19 protocols in Daura, Katsina State over the weekend.

Online photos had shown Buhari discussing with some All Progressives Congress governors at the revalidation of his APC membership in Daura on Saturday without putting on a mask or maintaining social distancing as stipulated by the newly signed Coronavirus Disease Health Protection Regulations (2021).

The Peoples Democratic Party and Nigerians on social media had slammed the President for the contravention of the regulations which made the use of face masks in public places mandatory among other measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.The regulations also stipulate a fine or six months imprisonment or both for violators.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the president had his mask on during the exercise but only removed it when he spoke to the microphone. This is at variance with health advice by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 that Nigerians should have their mouths covered with masks during speeches to keep off respiratory droplets through which the virus can be transmitted.

The president was also criticized for having over nine governors accompany him to Daura despite the government’s social distancing health advice.

Garba countered this by saying that there was nothing wrong with the number of governors that accompanied the president because they had to convey to the nation that the party is behind the process of revalidation of membership and everyone is involved. He also claimed that the criticism is coming from parties that are not able to organise and mobilise. 

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