The Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu has urged the protesting Nigerian youths to exercise caution in the midst of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Ihekweazu, who spoke on the #EndSARSProtest in a televised programme Wednesday morning, said although it is a sacrifice every Nigerian public officer has to make in a country with majority youths population, but there is need to embrace caution amidst COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the disease as the virus knows no one differently.
The #EndSARSProtest had commenced at the weekend with youths across the country calling for the dissolution of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) regarding the various forms of human rights violations and brutality perpetuated by the men of the force.
This brought about days of protest across the country by youths displaying various placards such as #Endpolicebrutality #EndSARSNOWNOW #NoMoreSARS, as the protesters lockdown major cities in the country.
Their agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
According to the NCDC DG :”Every public officer in Nigeria should see the protest as a reminder of the sacred responsibility we have to serve and deliver for a country of mostly young people.
“The virus does not recognise rich or poor, if you are a police officer or a protester. Just as we’ve adapted our offices, for COVID-19, peaceful protests even in this difficult time can be done safely, so we don’t lose our lives agitating for something important”, he emphasised.
On school reopening, he revealed ongoing efforts by the agency in discussing with stakeholders in the Education Ministry for the safe reopening of schools.
He remarked thus: “Education is important to us. Just like our airspace, we’re working with the Ministry of Education, parents, states, partners to reopen schools safely for our children. Parents should educate their kids on why measures are taken.
“As schools resume nationwide, we have urged states to conduct risk assessment to mitigate the exposure level of pupils to COVID-19”.
Ihekweazu further reiterated the need for handwashing with soap and running water to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Make use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser when handwashing facilities are not available, he advised.