Social Distancing: Residents Allege Discriminatory Treatment For Violators

After reporting an Islamic cleric for allegedly violating the order on social distancing, some residents have accused a community leader of double standards with regard to the rule.

Alhaji Ja’afaru, the Sarkin of Gora, a community in Nasarawa State located along the Abuja-Keffi Road, allegedly invited “over 500 people” to the funeral of his brother on Saturday although he condemned a similar gathering for congregational Juma’at prayers a day earlier, residents said.

HumAngle learnt that on Friday Ja’afaru reported an imam who led his congregation to a bush to conduct the Friday prayers in violation of the lockdown and social distancing order.

The imam and his followers were arrested by the police, the residents said.

The residents said the chief violated the rule by inviting hundreds of people to the burial ceremony of his brother and former Waziri, Muhammad Sani Maiwada, who passed away on Friday evening in a road accident.

According to residents, Ja’afaru sent his lieutenants to mobilise people for the burial rites that took place on Saturday.

“We were surprised,” one resident, who asked not to be named to avoid being attacked, told HumAngle.

“The law of social distancing is only applicable to the poor. For them, the rulers, there is nothing like social distancing,” the resident said.

The resident said that he saw 10 to 15 cars parked in front of the late Waziri’s house on Sunday morning, adding that the vehicles belonged to people who came to offer their condolences to the family.

When HumAngle reached out to the Sarkin of Gora, Ja’afaru’s assistant, he denied that there was a large public gathering during the burial.

But when he was informed that pictures of the event were available, he asked to consult with the leader and get back to us but he has yet to do so.

Although no case of coronavirus infection has been confirmed in Nasarawa State, there are 56 cases in the Federal Capital Territory and six in Kaduna State both of which share boundaries with the state.

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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‘Kunle covers conflict alongside its many intricacies and fallouts. He also writes about disinformation, the environment, and human rights. He's won a couple of journalism awards, including the 2021 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, the 2022 African Fact-checking Award, and the 2023 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

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