The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think-Tank has expressed concern over the breach of COVID-19 protocol following Sunday’s funeral of the late Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, which attracted thousands of sympathisers.
The late 18th Emir of Zazzau died after a brief illness at the 44 Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna and his burial later in the day attracted thousands of people including top government officials and politicians across the country.
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The think-tank, in a statement signed by its chairman, Atedo Peterside and vice chairman, Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, stated that it witnessed with deep concern reports of the events surrounding the death and burial of the emir, and the need to put in place clear strategies to prevent a recurrence.
“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.
“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 the pandemic,” the statement read.
It acknowledged the efforts of the Kaduna State government in the area of non-medical interventions, especially in encouraging social distancing, hygiene and wearing of face coverings, but stressed that what happened in Zaria on Sunday highlighted 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.
Attempts to reach the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Amina Mohammed-Baloni and the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, were unsuccessful as they did not respond to calls, and WhatsApp messages.