Press Release

Breaching of Funeral and Public gathering protocols

23 September 2020

Press Release 08

Lagos, Nigeria. 


The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank* (the Anap Think Tank) thanks the Almighty for the long life and reign of the revered Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris and condoles with the government and people of Kaduna State, Nigeria generally, and all his subjects, on the Emir’s passing. The Anap Think Tank witnessed with deep concern the reports of the events surrounding the death and burial of the Emir in Zaria this week. While the outpouring of emotion as evidenced by the huge crowds that spontaneously assembled around the palace is very understandable, given the high esteem in which the Emir was held, it was evident that all public health rules were forgotten. This leaves room to ask what government could have done to anticipate and mitigate the risks such an assembly must raise in this period of pandemic.

The Anap Think Tank acknowledges the efforts of Kaduna State and its leadership in the area of non-medical interventions especially in encouraging social distancing, hygiene and wearing of face coverings. We acknowledge the leadership by example set by its government. This however makes the question more pertinent. If in a State where genuine efforts have been made to limit the spread of the disease in the community this dangerous event nevertheless occurred, then it highlights further the key importance of the authorities’ preparedness.

We therefore wish to flag this issue as one that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) should urgently address and put in place clear strategies to prevent such a recurrence. The country is increasingly witnessing numerous incidences of social events where COVID-19 protocols are not being followed and a renewed clarification by the PTF would not be amiss at this time. We call on the PTF, the Kaduna State Government, and all concerned especially civic, political and religious leaders to take active steps to safely manage the crowds that are even now trooping daily to the palace for condolence visits. As we watch the world slip in varying degrees into a steep second wave of infection, this is not the time for Nigeria to relax in her efforts at controlling disease spread.

Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) is still our best remedy. Radio jingles, posters, cartoons, information in the lorry parks, village squares, markets, schools, churches and mosques must be disseminated. The effort to achieve change in social and individual behaviour will need to be long-term and sustained. Security and law enforcement personnel should also have regular re-training and clear guidelines on how best to anticipate and manage large social gatherings.

Nigeria is beginning to relax its lockdown further as schools resume, and public places of entertainment and worship have reopened to different extents. This is the time to ensure that in those places and in those gatherings appropriate protocols are strictly adhered to. COVID-19 STILL HAS NO CURE. BCC remains our strongest weapon against COVID-19. We raise this issue now as the PTF’s continuous silence on this matter of large gatherings, such as witnessed in Zaria, is inappropriate given the need for their continued clear leadership at this present time.


 Abubakar Siddique Mohammed




Atedo N. A. Peterside CON     



*The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank was established on 22 March, 2020, to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic and has 18 members drawn from across the six geopolitical zones and the diaspora (Germany & USA). 

For more information on the Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank, please visit

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