SPECIAL REPORT: The war against COVID-19 — Four instances that show influential Nigerians hardly obey the law

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By David Olalekan.

The moment Coronavirus surfaced in Nigeria, the government agencies responsible for health matters swung into action. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), supported by the Ministry of Health, was especially effective, giving daily briefings and updates concerning the new viral infection.

To ensure the safety of the majority and to guarantee that the infection rate is curtailed, government initiated some rules and put some regulations in place. While majority of ordinary citizens willingly submitted to government directives, security agencies were sent out to ensure compliance in some locations especially in the three states (Abuja, Lagos and Ogun) where total lockdown was initiated.

However, to the chagrin of many Nigerians, powerful individuals, including the Chief of Staff to the President, arrogantly subverted the rules and did as they pleased. In this report, INSIDER’s David Olalekan chronicles some of the instances where powerful and influential individuals acted contrary to the law in this period of ceaseless battle against COVID-19.

Abba Kyari defies FG’s travel advisory, Quarantine Act

The revered Presidential aide was surprisingly diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after returning from an official trip to Germany; making him the first Nigerian government official to test positive for the virus.

Before the news of his COVID-19 status went viral, Kyari who had returned from a high-risk country, which at the time had recorded nearly 30,000 cases of the infectious disease, went about his offical duties as President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, jettisoning the NCDC’s 14-day self-isolation advisory for overseas travelers. Consequently, three members of staff of the president’s confidant were reported to have contracted the virus hours after his test result came back positive.

Abba Kyari

Kyari further violated the Federal Government’s Quarantine Act following his decision to embark on private treatment against the advice of senior government and health ministry officials who had recommended the public isolation centres in Gwagwalada and Yaba, Lagos.

Former Kwara Grand Khadi, popular Islamic scholar flout state government’s ban on social gatherings

In defiance of the Kwara State government’s directive proscribing all social gatherings in the state, two eminent personalities in Ilorin — Sheikh Abubakar Aliagan and Justice Idris Haroon (Rtd) — violated the order and hosted a gathering of more than 25 persons.

While Aliagan led a Juma’at prayer in his An-Nur mosque located at the Federal low-cost housing estate in Oloje; Justice Haroon hosted the wedding of his daughter at his GRA home.

Justice Idris Haroon (Rtd)
Justice Haroon hosts daughter’s wedding at his GRA residence.
Sheikh Abubakar Aliagan

Aliagan leading a Juma’at prayer in his An-Nur mosque.

As of the time of filing this report, both prominent figures were yet to be summoned by the state government one week after flagrantly disregarding the stay-at-home order.

Meanwhile, operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Friday (two days ago) arrested two Islamic clerics in Offa, Kwara State for defying the lockdown order.

The clerics, presumably ‘less prominent’ were whisked away by the NSCDC for holding a Juma’at service in a mosque located at Lamodi area, Adeleke Road, in Offa with scores of worshippers in attendance.

Comic actress, Funke Akindele hosts party despite Covid-19 lockdown

Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele on Saturday hosted a party at her Lagos residence, despite the ban on social gatherings in the state. Akindele, an ambassador for Dettol, had severally featured in TV commercials urging Nigerians to observe social distancing and hygiene.

Funke Akindele and husband, Abdulrasheed Bello (JJC Skillz)


However, the house party which held in commemoration of her husband’s birthday, had in attendance many celebrities including controversial singer, Naira Marley. Following backlash from thousands of Nigerians on social media, Mrs Akindele was arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command on Sunday.

As Nigeria grapples with the rampaging Coronavirus pandemic, regular Nigerians who have to contend with the brutality of security agents, particularly the military, have been the worst hit by the lockdown directive in some affected parts of the country.

A father of two, identified as Joseph Pessu was on Thursday shot dead by an army officer in the Ugbuwangue area of the NPA Expressway, Warri, Delta State for refusing to stop for checks in the lockdown ordered by the state government.

Late Joseph Pessu and killer officer

Perhaps, this gives credence to the unwritten mantra in Nigeria, that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

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