COVID-19: CSOs are key players in fighting spread

Rahila Lassa, Abuja

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha

The Nigerian government says the Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, are  key players in the fight against the Covid-19, in Nigeria.

The Chairman, Covid-19 Presidential Task Force Committee and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha said this while giving an update on the daily press briefing by the Committee.

According to him, there is a need by the CSOs to sensitise Nigerians at the grassroots on the realities of Covid-19 and the threat it poses to humanity.

“The Civil Society Organisations are very good in advocacy and part of the plan to deal with this pandemic is advocacy”.

 “We must get to the rural areas, get our people to be aware of the consequences,” the SGF said.

He said the Committee had also met with the security agents to agree on modalities to be adopted to implement the lockdown order.

“Initial feedback was that there was substantial compliance, but however, there are violations of those restrictions by citizens that we desire to protect,” he added.

Speaking, the National Coordinator of the taskforce, Dr Aliyu Sani said that the measures taken by the government are in the interest of Nigerians, and urged the public to obey all measures put in place.

“My appeal is, please, stay at home, please keep your social distance and avoid mass gatherings. This infection is not going to go away unless we really take aggressive actions. If we don’t take aggressive actions, the risk is a lot of Nigerians could die particularly elderly people, vulnerable people and I am pretty sure most Nigerians wouldn’t want that to happen” he appealed.

For his part, the Minister for Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, said Government has taken measures to ensure that the correctional centres are infection-free.

“Long before now we have taken measures to ensure a very high level of hygiene at the custodial centres, which to a large extent will minimise any bases for infection or contamination.”

“With the development of this pandemic, I had a meeting with the Attorney General of the Federation, the Chairman of presidential Task force on Prison decongestion and they both agree that we should propose to the President some measure that will relieve the custodial centres. I’m so happy to announce to Nigerians that the President has approved our recommendations on measures to take to bring some relief to the overburdened custodial centres which we are going to work upon very, very soon,” the Interior Ministers explained.

The committee urged all Nigerians to obey all measures put in place by the Nigerian Government to succeed in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.