Briefing by the Covid-19 Presidential Task Force Chairman

REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION/CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF-COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL BRIEFING OF FRIDAY 8TH MAY, 2020

​I welcome you to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Friday, 8th May, 2020.

2.​Nigeria, like the rest of the World, continue to plough through this uncharted territory of COVID-19. The national response being pursued is robust, comprehensive and all inclusive. State Governments have been constantly consulted and advised to adapt and align their actions with guidelines issued by the Federal Government.

3.​The PTF has intensified the monitoring of the level of compliance with the advisories and guidelines already issued. The outcome of our surveillance still point to the fact that violations are still rampant and as I have always pointed out, portends a very dangerous trend.

4.​The PTF has been consulting with the Security Agencies and arrived at the conclusion that strict enforcement should be adopted. As part of the conclusions of the meeting with Security Chiefs, the following were also agreed:

• to strengthen enforcement in collaboration with the States;

• All exempted persons including journalists and medical personnel should always carry a verifiable and authentic means of identification;

• Security agencies should improve monitoring of their personnel and interaction with the citizenry;

• Citizens should respect the sacrificial role of security agencies and desist from assaulting security personnel and damaging security infrastructure;

• Appropriate PPE and related protective gears will be provided for the security personnel;

• Security agencies should always respect the fundamental rights of citizens during enforcement;

• Enlightenment and awareness should be intensified; and

• If need be, revisit the strategies on the basis of spatial compliance.

5.​I must reiterate that the measures taken are not punitive. Rather, they are to save our lives and prevent the uncontrolled spread of the COVID -19 among our loved ones and within our communities. We recognize the existence of multi-faceted challenges and shall keep on emphasizing these in our daily briefings as well as through our information, education and communication media. The PTF urges the media and all key stakeholders to step up the roles we play in the sensitisation and awareness efforts.

6.​Nigeria is presently at the community transmission phase and yesterday Thursday 7th May, 2020, we witnessed the highest single day number of 381 confirmed cases. This could be considered worrisome but for the fact that this rise is associated with our increased testing capacity, which has provided an opportunity to detect hitherto hidden cases. However, this increased testing does not translate to higher fatality rates as in the last few days, we have witnessed a good number of discharges and a continually reducing daily fatality rate.

7.​We have also received Reports from the States, which suggests that the treatment centres are running out of bed spaces. As we assess the situation, the PTF shall also begin to examine our peculiar circumstances, modify the strategies for care management and consider viable alternatives, where necessary. At the appropriate time, the guidelines and protocols shall be unfolded.

8.​ The PTF is liaising with the Task Force on Movement of Agricultural produce under the leadership of the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in order to ensure that food scarcity is not experienced in any part of the country. Another objective of this collaboration is also to minimize the abuse of the exemption granted for movement of goods under guidelines.

9.​Further to the update by the Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs on the evacuation of Nigerians yesterday, I am pleased to inform you that another batch is due to arrive Lagos today. They will be immediately ferried to Abuja by Air Peace Airlines where they will observe their supervised quarantine for 14 days. The HMFA will provide further information.

10.​Finally, I wish to underscore our appeal to Nigerians to please continue to comply with the guidelines. You must take personal responsibility for actions.

11.​I now yield the podium to the Hon. Minister of Health to update the nation.

12.​I thank you for listening.