The Anap Foundation Think Tank on Thursday launched an initiative, “naming and shaming” aimed at calling out defaulters of the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations (2021) through the media.

Abubakar Mohammed, the vice-chairman of Anap, in a statement, said the foundation is partnering with media organisations in the initiative to boost awareness and strengthen compliance to the new law.

President Muhammdu Buhari on January 26 signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy.

The law has five sections, which include: Restrictions on Gatherings; 1) Operations of Public Places; 2) Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols; 3) Offences and Penalties; 4) Enforcement and Application; and 5) Interpretation and Citation.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and some other states in the country have ratified the presidential directive.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has also ordered officers to fully enforce the law.

The FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, authorised security agencies to arrest anyone violating the guidelines.

On Tuesday, the FCT administration secured a court order to close for three days, Wuse market and the UTC marketing complex in Garki for failing to comply with COVID-19 protocols.

While there has been progress in enforcing the law publicly, ANAP noted that many parts of the guidelines are still being flouted especially by elites, big cooperatives and firms.

Mr Mohammed said awareness of the parts of the law and the different sanctions in it is still poorly enforced.

“We note with concern that these regulations are being openly flouted,” he said.

‘Naming and Shaming initiative’

According to the foundation, the initiative aims to spotlight the non-compliance with the guidelines by public figures and politicians by “naming and shaming” them.

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Mr Mohammed said media organisation such as Arise TV, Businessday Newspaper, Channels TV, Classic FM, Daily Trust Newspaper, Premium Times, TheCable, The Nation, This Day Newspaper and Vanguard Newspaper have keyed into the initiative.

“We encourage all other media houses to consider signing up to join our Name and Shame Initiative.”

He said media organisations by not covering events or denying media coverage of events where participants do not comply with the Health Protection Regulations will help in enforcing the law.

“While there is room for mass communication of the regulations – which mainly reiterate the popular, global advice about managing the pandemic (avoiding crowds, physical distancing, washing hands, wearing masks etc.) – we note that duty bearers and people in influential positions are particularly egregious in their disregard for public safety protocols,” the official said.

“We must continue to act clever and take every opportunity to protect ourselves, our neighbours and our country. We cannot afford another lockdown, but we can also not afford to act like we are not in the middle of a global pandemic that has already claimed two million lives globally.”

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