Yahaya Bello, the Kogi State Governor, has raised the alarm that criminals are abusing face masks meant to curtail the spread of COVID-19 to conceal their identities and rob in public places, The PUNCH reports.
The governor said this on Friday at the formal reception of delegates of the Nigerian Media Merit Awards in Lokoja, the state capital.
He claimed that COVID-19 was blown out of proportion in Nigeria, saying Nigerians had been living with diseases more lethal than the virus.
He said, “In fact, criminals were even using the face mask to disguise. They close their faces and lodge in hotels. They go to places, so you can’t identify them.
“I was made to understand that coronavirus was less than one per cent lethal; even ordinary fever is more lethal than coronavirus.”
Bello, who was responding to questions from journalists about his position on the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, said the state government took proactive steps to sensitise its residents to maintaining good personal hygiene.
He said, “We continued until when we were almost compelled to lock down and that was the turning point. When you see an enemy coming, I have not seen who the enemy is or who they are, how armed they are, and then I would tell my people to go into hiding, die of hunger, die of deprivation and what have you.
“When I see the enemy and I see the weapon they are holding and I don’t have a superior weapon to counter them then I will know the decision to take for my people. I will not lock my people down because of coronavirus because we have had incidences of the outbreak of more dangerous diseases in Kogi State.
“We have Lassa fever, we have yellow fever, we have communities where certain substances were consumed and we have had cause to control all that in Kogi State without blowing it out of proportion. So, why should I lock my people down?”
“Locking our people down would bring a lot of harm; it could be economic, there would be security implication; in fact, it could even lead to corruption.”