The federal government of Nigeria has said it will deploy the military and police to enforce social distancing as part of efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
The minister deplored some religious leaders’ decision to flout directives to avoid large gatherings.
Some mosques and churches opened for prayers and service on Friday and Sunday respectively against the government’s directive.
And the minister said: “The Federal Government is aware that some political and religious leaders have either denied the existence of coronavirus or have defied the directives to avoid a large gathering.
“Leaders of all hues must show great responsibility at this time. They must avoid putting the lives of not just their followers but also those of the general public in danger.
“Nigerians too must take responsibility, do what they are requested to do to stay safe and stop blaming others. For those who would continue to willfully flout the directives aimed at checking the spread of this disease, the long arm of the law will soon catch them.”
He said Nigerians should be ready for tougher measures to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The Presidential Task Force on the Control of Coronavirus had recommended some tougher measures which would be released later today or tomorrow morning, he disclosed.
“We want to appeal to Nigerians to continue to support the efforts of the government at all levels to defeat this coronavirus. We are hoping for the best in our efforts to contain the disease, but we are prepared for the worst.
“The truth is that things may yet get worse than it is now, hence the need for all hands to be on deck. Tougher decisions may yet be on the way to contain this disease. But whatever decision is taken will be in the best interest of Nigerians,” Mohammed said.