By Abdul Usman
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday lamented the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases among people in government, saying it was directly impacting on governance and security in the country.
The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who stated this at the task force press briefing in Abuja, also said the possibility of ordering a fresh total lockdown to curtail further spread of the virus could not be ruled out.
The SGF, who advised prominent Nigerians to take COVID-19 protocols seriously, said the virus does not respect status.
Mustapha’s warning came amid rising cases of COVID-19 among state governors and other prominent Nigerians. Recently state governors, including David Umahi of Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and their Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, contracted the virus.
Warning people in authority, the SGF said, “Of recent, we have witnessed a high rate of positive cases especially among people in authority. This has a direct impact on governance and security of our nation. We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians, irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitisation messaging.”
We can’t rule out fresh total lockdown – PTF
When asked if the task force would be considering a fresh lockdown in the face of what it observed as disregard for guidelines, Mustapha said events of coming weeks would determine the next line of action.
He said, “We will not speculate on what will happen in future but we will protect the lives of Nigerians.
“To achieve that, if it means to lock down again, we will not shy away from that responsibility. We will recommend to the President who will look at the report and take a decision on our recommendation. What happens in the next two three weeks will determine what we will do.”
PTF meets security agencies
The SGF also said members of the task force met with heads of security agencies earlier on Monday.
He said the meeting centred on how to enforce compliance with guidelines among other issues.
The Minister of Health, Ehanire Osagie, said the ministry planned to boost overall COVID-19 sample collection by preparing all eligible public and private hospitals nationwide to become collection sites.
He said a 17-man team of the ministry left Abuja for Calabar to engage with the Cross River State Government in setting up its COVID-19 response and aligning it with the national response.
WASCE holds in August and September
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said the West African Senior School Certificate Examination would take place between August 4 and September 5, 2020.
He also said that the decontamination of the 19, 159 registered centres for this year’s WASCE was not the sole responsibility of government as many of them were private schools.
The minister stated, “As soon as we conclude WASCE, we will take up the NABTEB (National Business and Technical Examinations Board) and NECO (National Examinations Council) exams.”
Shedding more light on the meeting of the PTF with security chiefs, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the task force sought their assistance in the enforcement of the use of face masks.”