By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Federal Government on Monday admonished religious and political leaders to show great responsibility and obey its directives in its efforts at containing coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave the admonition at a media briefing to update Nigerians on Covid-19.
“The Federal Government is aware that some political and religious leaders have either denied the existence of coronavirus or have defied the directives to avoid a large gathering.
“Leaders of all hues must show great responsibility at this time. They must avoid putting the lives of not just their followers but also those of the general public in danger.
“Nigerians too must take responsibility, do what they are requested to do to stay safe and stop blaming others.
“For those who would continue to willfully flout the directives aimed at checking the spread of this disease, the long arm of the law will soon catch them,” he said.
The minister solicited the cooperation of all Nigerians in the area of ‘contact tracing’.
He said the government would not hesitate to deploy the police and the military in tracing suspected individuals in hiding.
“As you may be aware, health services use ‘contact tracing’ to find people who may have been exposed to an infectious disease, in this case coronavirus.
“Those who have come into close contact with others who have coronavirus are at higher risk of infection, and of potentially infecting others.
“For those who will not cooperate by submitting to the authorities as required, the government will use all lawful means at its disposal to trace and bring them in.
“Having now shut our gateway airports, the biggest assignment for us is ‘contact tracing’ to find all those who may have come into contact with those who have the disease,” he said
Mohammed warned against playing politics with coronavirus, stressing that the disease “does not select its victims on the basis of their political party affiliation, their religion or ethnicity.
He reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s assurances to Nigerians that the government was on top of the situation and that there was no cause for panic.
“The government at the highest level is already leading by example. Mr President has cut down the number of courtesy visits and he is not shaking hands.
“One of the President’s daughters is in self isolation.
“The meeting of the heads of state of the Chad Basin Commission scheduled for next week has been cancelled.
“Visitors to the State House get their hands sanitised and their temperature taken at several points before reaching the executive council chambers,” he said.