Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu has been slammed for promoting a Saturday event despite a ban on public gathering in Abuja.
On Saturday morning, the presidential aide shared an invitation to a Barewa College, Zaria, Kaduna Old Boys Association gathering scheduled for Abuja today.
He added the message, “Please find time to join us at the Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA), 2020 Annual Leadership Lecture, where I will be speaking on “Media and Democracy: Challenge of Journalism”.”
According to the invitation, old boys of the school, including Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufail; FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello; Defence Minister, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), and Prof. Salihu Ingawa, would be in attendance.
Shehu added that “His Excellency, Governor Nasir @elrufai is expected to Chair the occasion, with the Ministers of Defence and FCT as special guests.”
The event is scheduled to hold by 10 am at Royal Hall, Kapital Klub & Apartments, Asokoro Abuja.
Please find time to join us at the Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA), 2020 Annual Leadership Lecture, where I will be speaking on “Media and Democracy: Challenge of Journalism”. pic.twitter.com/o3OJ4s7GG2
— Garba Shehu (@GarShehu) March 21, 2020
But the event is coming a day after the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) banned all gatherings with more than 50 people in attendance in the FCT.
In a Friday statement, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Strategic Communication to the FCT Minister, Malam Abubakar Sani, said religious gatherings, social gatherings at event centres, football viewing centres and night clubs, amongst others, were affected.
He said that the essence of restriction was to make tracking of suspected cases, if any, easier for the health authorities.
Read more about the ban here.
The Herald cannot authoritatively report that more than 50 people will be in attendance but many Nigerians, who took to social media, say the possibility is high, especially given Mr Shehu’s open invitation.
They urged the organisers to cancel the event to prevent spreading coronavirus.
Read comments monitored on Twitter:
So irresponsible of a government official like you to keep engaging in activities that's capable of bringing the nation to her knees during this wave of #COVID19. Worst thing is you work with/for the presidency yet you made this public.
— Adisa Ibrahim Oluwajoba (@Oluwajobs) March 21, 2020
You will be sending a very poor signal by still having huge gathering in spite of the possibility of spreading the virus.
Please cancel this meeting, if Jumat and Church services can be canceled what is this about #CoronavirusPandemic
— Adesoji Adelore (@es_adelore) March 21, 2020
Can you imagine! You preach social distancing and you are doing this. Well, I don't need to speak for COVID-19.
— Dr King 👑 (@ChuksDan) March 21, 2020
Hope you'll not be more than 50 in d lecture, otherwise I call on law enforcement agency to do their work.
— #Jalopì# (@hallmarkhitech) March 21, 2020
How would we be able to fight this scourge & prevent the spread when people in government don't even think there is a problem?
— Oluwaseun (@oluwaseunaalabi) March 21, 2020
I think the FG forbid any gathering of people due to the coronavirus
— Auwalun Dabai Unguwa Uku (@DabaiAuwalu) March 21, 2020
What happened to Social distancing? Una still dey hold meeting and conferences with over 50 people in attendance. OK o.
— Chinedu (@chineduanaz) March 21, 2020
In this coronavirus time, Garba Shehu are you for real?
— Ekemezie Uchenna (@SmartYaweh) March 21, 2020