Visitors to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, are now required to take a rapid COVID-19 test before they are permitted to enter the seat of power, popularly known as Aso Rock, either to visit the President or any other official.
The new regulation, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, will require every visitor to compulsorily take the test free of charge at the entrance gates of the Villa.
He, however, said that some exceptions had been made for a few leaders coming from outside, though such persons are still encouraged to still take the test for safety reasons.
“Yes, a new regime of Covid-19 regulation has been put in place for all visitors to the Villa, not for Governors alone.
“Every visitor to the Villa, not just those seeing the President, is now required to do a rapid test at the gate.
“The kits are freely issued so no one is required to make payment. This is purely temporary in view of the recent spike in cases, and will be removed any moment the situation abates. It’s a growing practice in government offices in many countries.
“Although some exceptions have been made for a few leaders in government coming from outside the Villa, they too are encouraged to do those tests.
“This policy has rightfully been justified following the discovery of Covid positivity in some of those tested since the last few days of the practice,” he explained.
The recent development in the Villa, which saw some officials and aides of the President testing positive for COVID-19 was believed to be another factor responsible for the new measure.
A number of close aides of President Muhammadu Buhari, including Shehu, had tested positive for the virus and had gone on self-isolation for treatment.