INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON CORONA VIRUS

ADDRESS BY SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION AT THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON CORONA VIRUS HELD AT THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION ON TUESDAY, 17TH MARCH, 2020

PROTOCOL I welcome all of you to this important inaugural meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the Control of COVID-19 in Nigeria. As we are all aware, the outbreak of the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) necessitated the monitoring of developments around the world as well as the management of the index case in Nigeria. Consequent upon these, Mr. President approved the constitution of this Presidential Task Force for the Control of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

  1. The composition of the Task Force will enable Nigeria deepen her multi-sectoral and inter-governmental approach to our national response. Actions taken by governments in different parts of the world point to the fact that COVID-19 constitutes a major threat to humanity and requires that our response must be firm, scientific, methodical and strategic.

  2. At this point, let me convey the appreciation of Mr. President to the Honourable Minister of Health and his team for efficiently rising to the challenge thus far. The swiftness in dealing with the index case is globally acknowledged and appreciated. We are very proud of you all.

  3. Honourable Ministers and Members, the timeline for the activities of this Task Force is six (6) months and it has the following Terms of Reference that will be open for discussion during this meeting: Strengthen the national response strategy, particularly in the areas of testing, containment and management of COVID-19; Strengthen collaboration with all tiers of Government, Private Sector, Faith-Based Organizations, Civil Societies, Donors and Partners; Build awareness among the populace; Direct the deployment of any relevant national assets when necessary; Lay a foundation for scientific and medical research to address all emerging infectious diseases; and Advise Government on the declaration of national emergency as part of the containment measures when necessary.
  4. We are however expected to report on regular basis to Mr. President.
  5. In order to give the activities of the Task Force proper focus, Mr. President also, approved the appointment of a National Coordinator who will manage the daily process, in collaboration with existing institutions and structures. The National Coordinator will be responsible for cohesion and efficiency in the roles played by the different agencies, operating in the treatment of the national response strategy.
  6. Given the foregoing therefore, the membership of the Presidential Task Force has been carefully selected as follows:

Secretary to the Government of the Federation - Chairman

Hon. Minister of Health

Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs

Hon. Minister of Interior

Hon. Minister of Aviation

Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Services

Hon. Minister of Education

Hon. Minister of Information and Culture

Hon. Minister of State Health

Hon. Minister of Environment

Director-General, Department of State Services

Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control; and WHO Country Representative;

National Coordinator - Dr. Sani Aliyu

  1. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a huge task that calls for diligence, expertise, collaboration and foresight. We should therefore strive to proffer sustainable solutions to the challenges ahead.
  2. Let me affirm Mr. President’s commitment to supporting this Task Force and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all Nigerians.
  3. On this note, it is now my pleasure to inaugurate this Task Force and to congratulate you for your selection as members.
  4. Thank you all for listening.