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Makinde breaches COVID-19 protocols, attends public gathering hours after returning from the U.S.

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The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has again breached COVID-19 safety protocols by attending a public event a few hours after he returned from the United States of America.

Mr Makinde, who travelled to the U.S. for holidays alongside his wife on December 30, 2020, returned to Ibadan, Oyo State capital on Tuesday, January 10, 2021.

Rather than self-isolate for 14 days as the protocols and the directive of the Federal Government demands, Mr Makinde, Wednesday, attended a gathering, tagged “annual interfaith service” to mark the beginning of 2021.

The event had the deputy governor and many top government officials and civil servants in attendance.

The governor’s action was against the safety protocols in place by the federal government that anyone who returns from abroad should observe mandatory self-isolation between 7-14 days of arrival.

Speaking at the event, Mr Makinde said the previous year(2020)was tough and residents of the state should prepare ahead for the challenges that may arise in 2021.

“We did not survive last year because we are tougher, we survived only by His grace and that is why it is good that we are holding this inter-faith service in gratitude. We are starting this year in good spirits. We are confident that this year, the seeds we planted in the previous year will yield good fruits. Last year, I didn’t know where the International Airport was from February till December. We all stayed together to experience the pandemic.”

“On the 30th, I decided to spend the New Year in the United States of America and before I came back, critics were saying I went to America to enjoy myself while Oyo State was burning. My belief is, they were criticising me because they had no other thing to say. Well, I am back and we will continue to serve the people of Oyo State.

Mr Makinde did not speak on his refusal to obey the protocols in place by the federal government to check the spread of the pandemic.

When contacted, the spokesperson of the governor, Taiwo Adisa, justified his principal’s action.

He admitted that travellers used to quarantine for 14 days “but in his own (Makinde’s) case, he conducted COVID-19 test before travelling. He had another one done on him in America and even before he entered Nigeria. He will do another one in two weeks. He social-distanced at the event and did not shake hands. What is the issue with that”, he queried our correspondent.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Nigerians have now let their guards down despite witnessing the second wave of the pandemic.

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Hands are no longer washed often with face masks almost forgotten; mass gatherings are no longer a problem, parties, weddings and even protests are back on the cards.

Recently, the Nigerian government announced that it will publish the passports of the first 100 passengers who failed to undergo the compulsory COVID-19 test after returning into the country.

According to the Chairperson of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, with effect from January 1, 2021 the passports of the first 100 passengers that failed to take their day seven post-arrival PCR test will be published in the national dailies and their passports will also be suspended till June 2021.

This decision was in response to PREMIUM TIMES report on how some passengers failed to observe the seven days’ isolation or present themselves for the PCR repeat test on the seventh day.

This is not the first time Mr Makinde would be breaching COVID-19 protocols despite warnings.

The governor in March 2020 organised a political rally in the state amidst a coronavirus outbreak in the country. He said then that there was no coronavirus with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) unlike the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“They are of the opinion that we should not have staged this rally because of the coronavirus pandemic but it was one of their leaders (APC) who said coronavirus has already infiltrated their party. We all know that there is no coronavirus in our own party,” he was quoted then.

After backlash from Nigerians, accusing him of carelessness and recklessness, the governor took to Facebook to announce that he regretted holding the rally.

Interestingly, weeks after his apology, Mr Makinde tested positive for the virus.

With the recent surge in coronavirus cases, Nigeria has been having a consistent spike in deaths from the disease.

On Tuesday, Nigeria logged one of its deadliest daily fatality toll with 12 people dying from the virus.

This newspaper, earlier on Thursday, reported that there have been 170 fatalities as a result of COVID-19 complications in Nigeria in the last 26 days due to late referral of COVID-19 patients to treatment centres.

Nigerian currently has a total number of 103,999 cases and 82,555 patients have been discharged from hospitals after treatment.

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