President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his confidence in the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to provide guidance and leadership in tackling the pandemic nationwide.
During his Democracy Day speech, the President praised those who have been working effortlessly towards containing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
He said that their dedication “is a testament of the courage and resilience of Nigerians as a people and as a great nation and that he was using “this opportunity to say thank you to all of you for your service to the nation.”
He also added that he receives regular briefing from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. The president noted that the national response relies on Science, Data and Experience in taking decisions and explained that it was the data that informed his approval for the ease of lockdown phase to ensure a balance between lives and livelihoods.
“I am confident that the steps being taken by the Presidential Task Force would result in flattening the COVID-19 curve. I, therefore, implore all Nigerians to abide by the approved guidelines and protocols. There is hope for us all if we take individual and collective responsibility,” he said.
Mr Buhari, while sympathising with Nigerians who have lost their loved ones to the virus, acknowledged that many Nigerians have been going through difficult times because of the outbreak.
He said most of the stringent measures introduced at every level of government to contain the virus, was aimed at saving lives.
The president said the overall objective of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 is to ensure that the pandemic does not overwhelm our health systems, while ensuring that we maintain an effective Case Management System to help in containing the spread of the virus.
“There is no doubt that this pandemic has affected the global economy and all known socio-economic systems. It has also brought grief and pain to families that have lost their loved ones. Like many Nigerians, I feel the grief and pain, not only as your President, but also as someone who has lost a close member of my staff and some relatives and friends, he said.
Mr Buhari said the impact of the pandemic has disrupted the nation’s economic system and to ensure it is functioning, while still addressing the spread, the federal government put in place a number of various non-pharmaceutical measures to slow down the spread of the virus, in addition to a progressive re-opening of the economy.
He said the government is determined to turn the COVID-19 challenge into a motivation to action by building a nation-wide public health care system that will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for any future outbreak.
The president said part of the strategy is to create jobs in reducing the effect of COVID-19 on the youth, which is why he directed the employment of 774, 000 Nigerians.
“These youth will be engaged in Special Public Works Programme aimed at cushioning the effects of economic downturn. Each of the 774 local government areas in the country will be allotted 1,000 slots. I am pleased to report that this programme has commenced.
Already, we have begun to look inward and I charge our inventors, researchers and scientists to come up with solutions to cure COVID-19.”