A molecular pharmaceutical researcher, Prof. Martin Emeje, says the research group of security agencies should be researching the impact of large gatherings such as #ENDSARS protest on the spread of COVID-19.
Emeje, who is the immediate past national chairman of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists in Academia, said, rather than shooting or arresting #ENDSARS protesters, the Nigerian government, through the security agencies, should be studying the behaviour of the protesters to get valid data on the impact of such large gathering on the spread of the viral infection.
Recall that the first round of #ENDSARS protest started in Lagos in October 2020 before spreading to other states in the country.
The protest witnessed a large gathering of protesters, with many of them disregarding most of the COVID-19 prevention measures of wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing.
According to Prof. Emeje, Nigeria should have conducted a study on the effect of that first protest on the transmission of COVID-19, noting that the report of such a study could have been very useful now to educate the protesters on the need to exercise caution.
“As I have always said, any nation that doesn’t prioritise research and development will continue to decay the way we are.
“There was ENDSARS protest last year, and we all saw how the protesters generally ignored the COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Has there been any simple study to show the effect of that behaviour on COVID-19 in Lagos or Nigeria?
“Well, based on what has been studied elsewhere, any gathering right now will favour the spread of COVID-19, therefore, we should know the risk of #ENDSARS protest at this time.
“But, ENDSARS protesters are not illiterate, they know that COVID-19 is a pandemic, a dangerous viral infection, yet, they appear not to bother, why? Can the security agencies answer that?
“In functional societies, the research group of the security agencies would have carried out a study, even before this second gathering. But, our security forces are only there waiting to shoot. That is not the way to improve the society,” Emeje said.
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