The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has issued guidelines for the conduct of elections in Nigeria, amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
NCDC Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu said the country’s electoral stakeholders must comply with protective measures like avoiding mass gathering, ensuring social distancing.
Ihekweazu also urged electoral stakeholders to ensure hand hygiene and mandatory use of face masks.
Speaking during a Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 on Monday, in Abuja, Ihekweazu warned that the virus thrives in mass gatherings, hence such should be limited during elections.
The NCDC boss urged politicians to use the mass media in their political campaigns.
He said: “Today we are announcing and launching a new guideline for the conduct of elections during the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.
“Therefore, we have developed this guideline to support everyone involved – parties, INEC, but most critically, Nigerians that will be going to vote in these difficult times.
“As we know, the virus thrives in mass gathering, so there is a challenge we have in the way we have conducted our elections – pre-elections, during elections and post-elections. So, in doing this guideline, we try and offer advice on how to do this safely.
“We strongly encourage the use of television, radio, mobile vans, social media and other forms of communication as our politicians solicit votes.
“We advise careful adherence to mass gathering guidelines.
Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t recognise whether we are conducting elections, religious gatherings or business settings – it just thrives when people come together.
“We have provided specific guidelines for these settings and none of them will be surprising and we’ll be explicit about it.”
Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, governorship elections would soon be conducted in Edo and Ondo States.
This followed NCDC’s confirmation of 575 new cases on Monday.