President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

COVID-19: Let’s brace up, Nigeria in perilous times ─Buhari

*President Muhammadu Buhari stresses that Nigeria is in a perilous situation and urgent measures are needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 and its attendant fatalities

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In view of the reported far-reaching impacts of the second wave of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in certain countries overseas, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to brace up for the inconveniences of measures his government is introducing to protect them amid the resurgence of the virus in the country.

Buhari stated this when he received a report from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 keeping him updated on efforts by various stakeholders to combat the pandemic in the country.

Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF, accompanied by the team members, submitted the report of the PTF on COVID-19 to the President.

The President stressed that Nigeria is in a perilous situation and urgent measures are needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the attendant fatalities.

Buhari was said to have spoken as Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, foreclosed the possibility of the Federal Government imposing a fresh lockdown on the country amid the second wave of the Coronavirus.

Recall that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has attributed the second wave of the pandemic to many factors such as increased local and international travels, business and religious activities with minimal compliance with COVID-19 safety measures by the public.

Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement, said the President had extended the mandate of the PTF, initially billed to expire December 30 to March 2021.

Report says the extension of the PTF’s mandate must have been necessitated by the second wave of the pandemic currently threatening the country.

The country could not afford to lose the gains of the past nine months in the fight against the pandemic and hence must retain the team, Buhari stated.

For the third time, the tenure of the PTF would be elongated, having been initially given the mandate to function for only three months upon its inauguration March 2020.

The statement added the President extended the mandate of PTF on COVID-19 “for a further period till the end of March, 2021 bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases and the bid for vaccines.”

Buhari also said he had examined the current state of the pandemic and was convinced that urgent measures needed to be taken to contain further spread.

He said: “Recent reports reaching me indicate that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world.

“New epicentres have been identified and the nation cannot afford to lose the gains of the last nine months.

“I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread and the attendant fatalities.

He also explained that “closely associated with the foregoing is the need to speedily and strategically access and administer the COVID-19 vaccine in a safe, effective and timely manner.

“This is an important obligation that we owe Nigerians as we go into year 2021 and it must be carried out through efficient machinery.”

Nigeria is obviously in a perilous situation, following the second wave of the pandemic, noting that the situation calls for decisive actions to protect Nigerians.

Buhari implored traditional rulers, religious leaders and all stakeholders to cooperate with the PTF by engaging in what he described as risk communication and community engagement.

The President urged Nigerians to be vigilant this season and take all precautionary measures to stay safe.

He also emphasised that “the nation is clearly in a perilous situation given the virulent nature of this second wave and we must act decisively to protect our people.

“I therefore urge all sub-national entities, traditional rulers, and religious leaders of thought to collaborate with the PTF by taking up the responsibility for risk communication and community engagement at all levels. Now is the time for collective efforts to be intensified.

“As the festive season approaches, I urge all Nigerians to remain vigilant and stay safe. Non-essential trips and large social gatherings should be avoided or shelved complete.”

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