BY HENRY TYOHEMBA, Abuja
LEADERSHIP Group Limited and 10 other media organisations have joined forces with Anap Foundation COVID-19 think tank to launch a ‘Name and Shame Initiative’.
The initiative which is aimed at promoting behavioural change around the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria will also highlight the non-compliance of newsmakers with the health protection regulations/or and spotlighting defaulters in the media.
Other media houses that have agreed to join the initiative are Arise TV, Business Day Newspaper, Channels TV, Classic FM, Daily Trust Newspaper, Premium Times, The Cable, The Nation, THISDAY Newspaper and Vanguard Newspaper.
In statement jointly signed by its chairman, Atedo Peterside and vice chairman, Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, Anap Foundation said the initiative is to make sure Nigerians adhere to public health advice on controlling the spread of the pandemic.
The statement read in parts: “The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank (the Anap Think Tank) welcomes the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations (2021) aimed at ensuring Nigerians adhere to public health advice around controlling the spread of COVID-19. It is detailed and if adhered to, will go a long way towards protecting us from the second wave and the more infectious strains of the virus.
“However, we note with concern that these regulations are being openly flouted. 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 Name and Shame Initiative will highlight the non-compliance of newsmakers by (i) not covering events or denying media coverage of events where participants do not comply with the Health Protection Regulations and (ii) spotlighting defaulters in the media.
“We must continue to act cleverly 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. Follow the Regulations. Mask up. Stay Safe. Remain well and alive”.
Similarly, the Foundation also called on the government and all stakeholders to come up with a smart crisis management plan to address the second wave of COVID-19.
It commended the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for its diligent tracking of cases and the ongoing efforts of the federal government to create the awareness that the second wave of the pandemic is real.
The statement noted: “The Think Tank is alarmed at the rate of increase and pattern of cases now spreading rapidly across Nigeria with a new high of 1,145 cases confirmed on 17 December 2020. At the height of the first wave, the highest ever incident in Nigeria was 790 cases on 01 July 2020. The data from the NCDC below shows the rapid pace of the second wave of infections compared to the first wave.
“Our response must take into consideration Nigeria’s realities: recession, high unemployment and rising insecurity: we cannot shut down small businesses.
“While countries across the world are experimenting with variations of lockdown measures to balance lives and livelihoods as infection cases rise amidst the yuletide season and festivities, we should look to countries with similar realities such as Ethiopia and Senegal.”
LEADERSHIP Management said while it welcomed the partnership, it would continue to perform its constitutional duty of holding government accountable at all times.