As Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), is set to hold its party congresses nationwide, the federal government has warned against mass assemblies for political activities.
The warning, which was addressed to all political parties, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its state counterparts, was contained in a statement issued on Friday night by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.
The statement, which was signed by the committee’s chairman, Boss Mustapha, urged the concerned parties to always ensure strict compliance to all COVID-19 protocols while conducting political events in the country.
The development may not be unconnected with the recent confirmation of more cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in some states, and the continued rising number of infections and hospitalisation across the country.
Mr Mustapha, who doubles as the secretary to the government of the federation, noted that political mass gatherings serve as super-spreaders events for the propagation of COVID-19 infection in communities.
He said political events must be carefully controlled to ensure maximum public safety in terms of risk of transmitting the infection among the vulnerable population.
The statement reads in part: “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.”
Increasing COVID-19 cases
Nigeria has continued to record high daily cases of the coronavirus infection. These cases include the deadly’ Delta variant’ which was first reported in Nigeria on July 8, 2021, in a traveller.
Tagged SARS-CoV-2, and also known as lineage B.1.617.2., the Delta variant has been described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the ‘most transmissible variant.’
The international health body said the variant is responsible for the spike in about 132 countries across the world where it has been reported.
As of Thursday, Nigeria has recorded 178,821 COVID-19 cases and the fatality in the country stands at 2,141.
Existing COVID-19 protocols
Mr Mustapha reiterated that the mandatory use of face masks is one of the measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
“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.
“Enclosed venues should be adequately ventilated and must not exceed 50 per cent of venue capacity (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.”
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