States major challenge to tackling COVID-19, says PTF

President Muhammadu Buhari (right); Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, during a meeting with the President at the State House, Abuja…yesterday.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on (COVID-19) has spotlighted the failure of states to enforce extant safety protocols as a major challenge to the country’s response to the pandemic.

Its chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure while addressing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

He was in the Villa alongside the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the task force’s National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu and Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, to submit their observations from the extra extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown and make recommendations for the next phase.

On the challenges, Mustapha noted that the efforts at containing the spread of the virus would have been more successful if those charged with enforcing the regulations at the state level were up and doing.

His words: “It is enforcement that has largely been lacking and my appeal is that the subnationals should ensure enforcement. As a matter of fact, when we listed some of our challenges, that was top on the list.”

While he did not disclose the recommendations, the SGF hinted that the next level would focus on three themes – movement, labour and community activities.

“As for the content of the report, it will be premature for me to talk about it because we submitted a report, we have submitted recommendations and so we have to leave it for Mr. President to take a decision. By the time I receive his approvals and non-approvals on the recommendations we have made, we will be able to speak to the Nigerian people tomorrow (today),” he said.

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