The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has implored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), state governments and all political parties, to curb mega political rallies in the country in the wake of the confirmation of more cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in several states.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, issued the warning yesterday.
In the statement, he appealed to all concerned to ensure strict compliance to the COVID-19 protocols following the continued rising number of infections and hospitalisation across the country.
He warned that political mass gatherings should not be allowed to serve as super-spreader events for the propagation of COVID-19 infection in communities across the nation. He cautioned political parties to ensure that political campaigns are properly regulated to ensure maximum public safety in terms of risk of transmitting the infection among the vulnerable population.
“The PSC wishes to reiterate the significance of the publicised 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,” the statement said.
Some of the measures, the PSC noted, are to include the mandatory use of face mask by everyone attending those political events, while political parties should also prevent individuals without face masks from gaining access to political venues.
The committee also advised that hand hygiene facilities, including soap and water and hand sanitisers should be made available for people before gaining access to the venues.
It advised that enclosed venues should be adequately ventilated and must not exceed 50 per cent of the venue capacity, with the minimum of two metres observed among people at the gathering.
Similarly Mustapha also urged political parties to consider multiple locations or time-slotting with appropriate numbers of people to enable adequate physical distancing in each gathering per time.
The PSC called on the political parties, INEC and SIECs to ensure and enforce compliance to the extent possible of the provisions and other safety measures to protect the Nigerian population.