NIGERIANS on Saturday took to the social media to express their displeasures over public lecture attended by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, despite Federal Government’s recommendation to suspend public gatherings.
Some Nigerians expressed disappointment that Mr. Shehu attended the event the same day three new confirmed cases were reported in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and seven others in Lagos, as disclosed by the Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire.
The public lecture titled, 2020 Annual Leadership Lecture was organised by Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA), Abuja Branch, had Shehu as the keynote speaker. He spoke on the topic: Media and Democracy: Challenge of Journalism.
Other invited dignitaries include: Mallam Nasir El Rufai, the Kaduna State Governor, as the occasion chairman; Mallam Muhammad Bello, the FCT Minister as the event host; Bashir Magashi, the Minister of Defence as a special guest and Salihu Ingawa, the association’s Abuja chairman.
The event held at Royal Hall, Kapital Klub and Apartments, near the World Bank office, Asokoro, Abuja, was described as testimony to “foolishness”.
“That Garba Shehu’s conference is foolishness. How do you tell people not be stupid when you are displaying exactly that?” Ediong, a verified twitter handler @Ediong tweeted
Aye Mojubar @ayemojubar also questioned rationale for such public gathering despite previous warnings by the appropriate government authorities, especially as the pandemic bites harder.
“Public Invitation to a public gathering by Garba Shehu in the heat of #CoronaVirusNigeria, the same day Punch reported 4 cases in Abuja? Why won’t people call Buhari government all sorts of names?
“They specialise in violating every law they put in place yet want us to comply. Tueh! Angry face.”
Garba Shehu too will apologize later.
Irresponsible leadership. https://t.co/dhjgS2Wj4E
— Ajayi Oluwaseun (@matajson) March 21, 2020
Another user, Lekan Adigun @MrLekanAdigun called for Shehu’s sack for flagrant disobedience of public order.
He also suggested sack of other cabinet member and presidential aides who attended the event.
“I think Buhari should sack Garba Shehu and everyone in his government who attended this programme to serve as a warning to others. I don’t see any sense in telling others to comply with a directive which your spokesman is flaunting clearly. It makes no sense to me.”
A check on the health minister’s verified twitter handle showed that avoiding crowded gathering is among precautionary measures Ehanire strictly advised against.
He also mentioned the need to maintain a social distance of two metres.
The NCDC and other authorities gave similar recommendations as part of measures to prevent likely spread of the pandemic.
“Observe social distance for now. In Lagos no gathering of more than 50 people, FG shuts down schools in response to COVID-19, Garba Shehu (SSA, Media and Publicity): invites the entire public for a special lecture. This government is so unwell,” Uwaya Isimemen @Uwayaisi tweeted.
Part of efforts to prevent social garthering was the closure of schools, National Youth Service Corps orientation camps, suspension of religious garthering, train services among others.