President Buhari hails task force on COVID-19

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the task force on COVID-19 for working so hard to contain the novel Coronavirus.

He also assured the task force that the government and all Nigerians are in full support of the Chairman and members of the Presidential Task Force PTF.

Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who doubles as the Chairman of the task force, disclosed this to State House Correspondents on Sunday evening, soon after he led members of the PTF to the Presidential Villa, where they briefed him on their activities so far.

He said: “As far as the work of the PTF is concerned, he was upfront with his commendation and he assured us that the nation is fully behind us in the work that he has charged us to do and he is also appreciative of the work of the frontline workers.”

Boss Mustapha further said the Nigerian leader urged them to continue to appeal to citizens to comply with health advisories and directives on the pandemic.

“We also discussed the issue of compliance and he said we should continue to appeal to Nigerians and drive home the point, that it is a personal responsibility,” he said.

When asked whether the country is winning the fight against COVID-19, the PTF Chairman answered in the affirmative.

He said: “Yes we are, we are winning. As a matter of fact, when you juxtapose the rate of cases with our fatality rate, which is basically about three per cent. In other countries and clients, it’s over ten per cent.

“We’ve not reached the peak yet and I wouldn’t want to deceive Nigerians by telling them that we are out of the woods; not we are not, as we even open up, we even open up and accommodate more enterprises because we are trying to have a balance between livelihoods and lives.”

He, however, warned that cases may increase but there is no cause for alarm, as the government will not relent in its effort to contain the pandemic.

Recommendations

The PTF Chairman gave an indication that based on their recommendations, more sectors of the economy would be opened up but only President Buhari can decide on that.

“That is part of what we have considered in its totality but we await the President’s decision on that; once I receive his approval going forward as to certain recommendations that we have put in place but I can assure you about one thing; that the ownership of the next phase would be the responsibility of the states under national supervision and coordination.

“It is very important we realise that no state can be an island when you deal with public health matters and whatever happens in a particular locality has the consequences of skidding off to other constituencies and that is the message that we will continue to drive in our pursuit to get everybody involved.  

 “After we receive the President’s approval tonight (Sunday) or tomorrow morning (Monday,) we will now know which segment of the economy he has allowed to open,” he said.

Boss Mustapha is expected to inform Nigerians of the new development on Monday during the daily briefing of the PTF, just as he did two weeks ago.

 

Zainab Sa’id