A Coalition of 38 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) says Nigerians are no longer complying with COVID-19 protocols, especially the use of face masks.
The coalition also observes that attitudes of some groups across the country to social or physical distancing directives as preventive measures against COVID-19 virus are worrisome.
Mr Benson Olugbuo, Executive Director of Cleen Foundation, made this observation in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday.
Olugbuo said that the upsurge in the cases of the COVID-19 virus infection cases in Nigeria had become alarming in spite of measures by the government to contain its spread.
He said this could be attributed to the non-nonchalant attitudes of some citizens towards obeying and complying with the guidelines stipulated by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“Following reports by members of the COVID-19 Nigeria Security Support Group (NSSG) in different parts of the country, Nigerians have become tired with the wearing of face masks and adhering to physical and social distancing.
“The NSSG have also observed a decline in public compliance level to government directives on the ban on public gathering due to the relaxed enforcement of these guidelines by security agencies leading to the rise in cases of the disease.
“This development, therefore, calls for concerted efforts both by the government and citizens to play active roles and responsibilities in the enforcement and complaint to preventive guidelines to stop the spread of the virus,” he said.
He also noted that there was reports also on a general decline of citizens’ non-compliance with a curfew which cut across the six geopolitical zones.
Olugbuo expressed concern that most directives had been disregarded by most of the residents across all the regions with only very few persons adhering to the use of face masks.
“These very few persons actually only comply with the use of face masks and physical distancing when visiting banking halls, courts, and some other government and corporate establishments,” he said.
He called for more sensitisation by the government at all levels and key stakeholders across all spheres and sectors.
Olugbuo noted that the stigma associated with the corona virus has made it difficult for citizens who were experiencing the signs and symptoms of the virus to go for testing unless it was by compulsion or when they had become very ill.
“The Federal and state governments should complement the current testing process with massive anti-body testing to enable Nigerians know the extent of exposure of citizens to the corona virus.
“Anti-body testing is progressive and not subject to undue stigmatisation currently hampering tracing, testing and isolation of infected persons.
“State governments should also continue to educate citizens with adequate information and sensitisation programmes about the dangers of not complying with social and physical distancing rules,” he said.
Olugbuo enjoined the media not to down-play the reports on the virus, saying that by the Nigerian population and the current number of tests carried out, it was obvious that the real number of infection was under-reported in the country by the media.
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