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Abuja: Nigerians blast Buhari’s aide for promoting public lecture amid coronavirus lockdown


Garba Shehu, a media aide of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), came under fire on Saturday for inviting members of the public to a lecture amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes barely 48 hours after the Federal Government closed all schools in the country in line with global protocols of social distancing to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority will on Monday shut down the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, alongside the other international airports earlier shut down.

State governments across the country also banned gatherings more than fifty as part of measures to prevent probable community transmission of the virus with Nigerian cases hitting 22 on Saturday.
However, Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a series of tweets on Saturday morning, said, “Please find time to join us at the Barewa Old Boys Association, 2020 Annual Leadership Lecture, where I will be speaking on ‘Media and Democracy: Challenge of Journalism’.

“His Excellency, Governor Nasir @elrufai is expected to chair the occasion, with the Ministers of Defence and FCT as special guests.”

The tweet was accompanied by an invite that showed the event would take place at 10 am on Saturday, March 21 in Abuja.

Three cases of coronavirus have since been confirmed in the Federal Capital Territory.
The presidential spokesman’s tweet sparked outrage among Nigerians on Twitter.

@global_honey said, “I’m disappointed sir. At this time? Can’t this event wait?”

@julietkego said, “Do you people have basic common sense? Can you prioritise the lives and health of citizens for once? What is so urgent about this lecture that it cannot be rescheduled in light of the current realities and crisis? Does the President and his aides even know about #COVID19Nigeria?!”

@sulaimanaa said, “@elrufai I hope the lecture is getting cancelled! If not, what is the essence of closing schools in the state when you still gather people for lectures?”

@zikaay said, “In the era of social distancing? I hope the seats will be one metre apart and no hugging or shaking of hands. The threat is real and gatherings like this need to be re-considered soonest.”