The Presidency has defended Muhammadu Buhari’s non-use of a face mask in Daura, Katsina State over the weekend.
Buhari had earlier signed the Coronavirus Disease Health Protection Regulations (2021) making the use of face masks compulsory.
The law stipulates a fine or six months imprisonment or both for violators.
But at the weekend, the President was seen discussing with some All Progressives Congress governors at the revalidation of his APC membership in Daura on Saturday without putting on his face mask.
This president’s action is at variance with health advice by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 that Nigerians should have their mouths covered with masks during speeches to prevent them from spilling droplets through which the virus can be transmitted.
The opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, and Nigerians on social media had slammed the President for the contravention of the regulations he signed, which made the use of face masks in public places mandatory, among other measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking on Monday, however, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said his principal had his mask on during the exercise but only removed it when he spoke to the microphone.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, Shehu said, “People are missing the point. The President had his face mask on through that engagement. He had it off when he was speaking into the microphone. It is just a childish antic by the PDP.”
The President has also been criticised for having 10 governors accompany him to Daura despite the government’s social distancing health advice.
The presidential spokesman, however, said there was nothing wrong with the number of governors and APC chieftain in the delegation.
“This is to drive the spirit of the re-registration and the revalidation of membership. We must convey to the nation that we the party is behind the process and everyone is involved.
“The criticism is coming from parties that are not able to organise and mobilise, we feel sorry for them,” Shehu said.