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Don’t make COVID-19 treatment look like secret cult, HURIWA tells FG

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned Federal Government’s crude methods of handling treatments and finding cure for the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic in the country, saying government should stop making the treatment look like a secret cult.

It said gagging citizens from disclosing their treatment regime in isolation centres amounts to restraining their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedom of expression and information as enshrined in section 4 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

In a statement issued in Abuja by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said there was rising public distrust about the Presidential Task Force (PTF’s) handling of the coronavirus pandemic, stressing that it was dominated by politicians and other public officers less conversant with the sciences.

Besides, the group also condemned Federal Government’s decision to proceed with the school feeding programme, while schools had been closed for two months due to the pandemic, saying it was a scam developed by officials to perfect their corrupt tendencies.

It noted that the ill-advised decision of Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management to proceed with feeding school children while schools have been closed for two months have contributed to growing public cynicism on government’s commitment to battle the COVID-19 phenomenon.

“Federal Government’s warning to COVID-19 survivors to stop giving details of the drugs used for their treatment, so that they don’t encourage self-medication is unconstitutional and has further strengthened the conspiracy theories about the certainty of the rate of spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“That statement is like telling the world that what the PTF has been doing is to engage in some kind of ocultism contrary to expectations of 21st century compliant scientific inquiries and research in line with best global practices.

“A government that tries to gag its citizens to stop talking about how they got well again after suffering from COVID-19 and a government that against all rational opposition proceeded with the feeding of ghost pupils in the guise of school feeding programme has only succeeded in making people have doubts about the authenticity of combating the pandemic,” the statement added.

HURIWA recalled that the Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, asked Nigerians to stop disclosing the treatments they received for COVID-19, just as his statement followed recent revelations by some survivors, who spoke about the drugs administered on them during treatment.

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