Take COVID-19 pandemic serious…it’s not a joke, Buhari tells govs

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged state governors across the country not to take the coronavirus pandemic as a joke by intensifying fight against its spread.

Addressing the governors during a virtual meeting on Monday, Buhari observed experiences from several across the globe have shown there is need for total commitment among countries to combat spread of the killer virus.

The President called on the governors to improve in the area of enlightening their people on the seriousness of the infection by ensuring they stayed safe.

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He also enjoined the governors to work in synergy with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to tackle the novel disease.

Buttressing his point, Buhari pointed out the fact that countries considered as economic and technological heavyweights were also affected by pandemic shows Nigeria needs to do more in its efforts to tackle the virus.

Buhari added that he had already directed a thorough review of the COVID-19 response briefing from the PTF’s Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

He said: “I have directed that they work very closely with the governors. We have to be very careful. We need to continue to educate and persuade the people to accept the reality of the situation, and do all that is necessary to stay safe.”

According to Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, “The meeting also discussed economic and security issues, among others, with the governors commending the President on the ‘leadership and direction’ he has given the country in combating COVID-19.”

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Meanwhile, Mustapha has warned against full reopening of the country’s economy, explaining such action could jeopardise progress made so far in containing spread of the virus.

Speaking during the daily briefing of the PTF in Abuja on Monday, the SGF said: “The reality is that in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority

“Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace. Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.

“The two weeks extension of phase one of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.

“For the PTF, we share your pains but our future is in the hands of every Nigerian and future decisions will depend greatly on our compliance.

“​For sustainability of the gains recorded, the PTF shall continue to support states by developing guidelines to shape decision-making for future steps in the response and aggressively scale up efforts to ensure effective community information.

“It is believed that these steps will help consolidate the gains made so far, and position the country to effectively overcome the pandemic.”

Buttressing his point, Buhari pointed out the fact that countries considered as economic and technological heavyweights were also affected by pandemic was symptomatic that the Nigeria needs to do more in its quest to tackle the virus.

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