From Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has advised governors to cooperate with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control so as to achieve the goal of containing the virus.
He reminded the governors of the need to educate and persuade Nigerians to accept the reality of the situation and to do all that is necessary to stay safe.
President Buhari spoke during a virtual meeting with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) yesterday.
A statement by Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina quoted Buhari as telling the governors that the PTF had briefed him on the next steps in the national response to the pandemic, “and I have directed that they work very closely with the governors.”
President Buhari said the pandemic was “beyond technology, power, and resources,” noting that countries that had all those, were recording the highest casualties around the world.
The meeting also discussed economic and security issues, among others, with the governors, who commended the President on the “leadership and direction” he has given the country in combating COVID-19.
The President was joined in the Executive Council chambers at the State House, Abuja, by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, among others.
The PTF at its on Monday briefing said: “As contained in the address of Mr. President on 27th April 2020, governors are reminded to align their state-specific measures with the guidelines issued by the PTF.
“For the sustainability of the gains recorded, the PTF shall continue to support states by developing guidelines to shape decision-making for future steps in the response and aggressively scale up efforts to ensure effective community information.
“The security agents are however urged to be mindful of the human rights of citizens, while citizens are equally urged to recognize the dangers posed to self, their loved ones, and the entire community if they fail to take responsibility.
“Let me state categorically, that the exemptions allowed under phase one are still in place. Particularly, the Government remains conscious of the fact that we are in the rainy season and farming activities are critical to food and national security. It should, therefore, not be hindered.
“States and security agencies to support, encourage and allow farmers to carry out their activities”, he said.
Mustapha observed further than yesterday’s briefing was significant as it had provided the PTF an opportunity to assess progress made in the first phase of its stated three-pronged strategy, as well as it had afforded the task force the chance to communicate President Buhari’s directive on the next step of the national response to the COVID-19.
After acknowledging the unusual sacrifice that the inconveniences of the introduced measures might have been to Nigerians, Mustapha urged Nigerians to demonstrate more patriotism as the fight against COVID-19 would continue to demand more responsibility from the individuals.
“We wish to appeal to all Nigerians to show understanding, demonstrate patriotism, and take responsibility. Humanity is in great peril and we are all in danger. Most importantly, we repeat our call on all Nigerians to please STAY HOME and STAY SAFE “, he said.
He noted that corporations and government offices partially opened their operations and services so as to facilitate the activities of other sectors; some manufacturing, construction, and allied sectors also resumed.
“All these sectors ensured that adequate infection mitigation measures were put in place.