COVID-19: PTF charges governors, security agencies to ensure strict enforcement of protocols

Alarmed by the spike in the number of daily confirmed cases of infections, the Presidential Task Force (PTF)  on COVID-19 is to work with state governors and security agencies to fashion stricter enforcement of protocols to curtail the spread of the disease.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said at its briefing in Abuja on Thursday that the rise in infection is a cause for concern.

While admonishing Nigerians that they are still at risk of the infection, he revealed that the task force will confer with the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and security agencies to fine-tune strategies for stricter enforcement.

He said: “Nigeria witnessed a spike in a number of confirmed cases when the number of recorded cases jumped to 663 on Tuesday, 9th June 2020. This number gives us cause for concern as a Task Force and as a nation.

“In the PTF briefing on Monday, 8th June 2020, I emphasized that a great majority of Nigerians are still susceptible to COVID-19 and cautioned that if we allow it to transmit easily between us, it may be even more deadly. That admonition remains very valid and we still underscore vigilance and self-preservation.

“The PTF continues to monitor the level of activities and compliance with the guidelines nationwide. Consultations will continue and tonight, I will be holding another round of video conference with the team of Governors appointed by the National Economic Council to interface with the PTF.

“The PTF will re-emphasize its appeal to governments at the sub-national level as well as our security agencies to enforce the guidelines and protocols firmly. The PTF would also be meeting with the heads of these agencies to further fine-tune strategies to ensure compliance.”

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He said the PTF has advanced in its preparation for taking precision measures within the high burden local government areas identified, saying that the strategy will be unfolded in due course.

According to him, the task force is also emphasizing risk communication and community engagement in a sustainable manner.

“We, therefore, urge State Governments to reach out to traditional, religious and community leaders for dialogue and education. The major message will be ownership, behavioural change and take responsibility,” he said.

Mustapha urged Nigerians to celebrate Democracy Day in a solemn and reflective manner to ensure the goal is to stay alive and remain Covid-19 free.

He stated: “Let the date be a reminder of the reality of our times, the disrupting effects of COVID-19, the realization that we are faced with a new normal and the necessity for us to individually and collectively prepare ourselves to conquer this pandemic.

“The best celebration we would bequeath ourselves is to strengthen our individual and collective resolve to abide by the guidelines to protect ourselves, our friends, our loved ones and the country at large.

In his remark, the PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, observed that even though the ease of lockdown was meant to lead to the gradual reopening of economy, it was also known that it would lead to more infections as has been seen in countries around the world.

He said from polls conducted, the majority of Nigerians expressed their intention to adhere to the messages on the containment of the disease but he added that intention is not the same thing as adherence.

“Clearly, it is one thing for us to be aware but it is another thing for us to act on the knowledge. This is what we are finding within the public in the response,” Dr Aliyu said.

He, therefore, appealed to members of the public to change their behaviour to save lives.

While advising against stigmatizing infected persons, the National Coordinator stressed that the disease is real and should not be dismissed by members of the public.

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