PTF News

National Briefing, May 4, 2020 – Remarks by SGF / Chairman of PTF

By May 4, 2020December 11th, 2020No Comments

​Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I welcome you to the National Briefing for today, Monday, 4th May, 2020.

The World Press Freedom Day was celebrated yesterday Sunday, May 3rd, 2020 and I want to join Mr. President in congratulating our hard working and diligent men and women of the Nigerian Media who had consistently served as a necessary watch-dog of the society. This role has been made more manifest in our current efforts at tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Your complementary support in drawing Government’ attention to areas of improvement, creation of awareness and broadcasting the daily press briefing in a professional manner is highly appreciated.

Let me reiterate a significant portion of Mr. President’s goodwill message, in which he decried the negative impact of the on-going disinformation, fake news and hate news perpetuated through the digital platforms. This is fraught with undesirable consequences for a country like Nigeria because this is the time for us to remain united as a nation, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

In line with Mr. President’s plea to the media, I also wish to urge you to continually work together to eliminate this unpleasant phenomenon.

Today marks the beginning of Mr. President’s directives to ease the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory and the introduction of new measures nationwide. The guidelines on the first phase of the new measures spanning 4th -17th may, 2020 have been published in eight newspapers.  Awareness is also being created through broadcast on electronic medium, on line platforms as well as dissemination in local languages by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other sources.

​The PTF has been monitoring the level of compliance with some of the measures and early observations showed lack of compliance with social distancing and wearing of masks. We note particularly the chaotic scenes around the banks and other financial institutions. We must reiterate that the danger of infection is not over and that individual actions will contribute to the success or failure of our measures.

We urge citizens to minimize the risk of getting infected while trying to transact in the banks. We similarly urge the banks to ensure that their ATMs and online banking systems are in good order and stocked regularly to avoid convergence of customers in their premises.

The PTF fully understands the desire of Nigerians to come out to continue their lives after five weeks of lockdown. States Governments and Security agencies have however, been advised to enforce the measures rigidly and violators will be prosecuted. Let me remind you, once more, that this easing up is in phases and those who are permitted to open have clearly been defined. Our admonition to Nigerians is that it is still desirable to stay at home if there is no compelling reason to go out and to comply with the measures always, whether at home or not.

The PTF has also received reports on the level of compliance with the nationwide ban on inter-state movement. The objective of the ban is to slow down the spread of virus across state boundaries. The determination of government to enforce this policy is not in doubt and as we progress, we believe that proper alignment with the directives of Mr. President would be pursued.

There has been very noticeable relocation of Almajiris from one state to another, up until yesterday. With the ban on interstate movement, the continuation of this exercise will not be in alignment with the guidelines issued. The PTF shall engage with the respective State Governments on how to achieve their objectives.
11.​As we journey into this new phase of measures, it is imperative that I re-iterate the importance of adherence to the guidelines more so that preliminary reports indicate that there is observable high level of breaches by the citizenry.

I wish to at this point convey the assurances of the security forces , that the rights of Nigerians will be protected and their lives and property protected. Therefore, I passionately appeal to Nigerians to desist from attacking security personnel in the discharge of their duties and not recourse to taking the laws into their hands.

With regard to Kano, the teams dispatched from Abuja have continued to work with the State Structure and appreciable achievements have been recorded in improving manpower support, deploying appropriate equipment, increased testing capacity and treatment centres. Efforts are also on-going to upscale the training of medical personnel in the Kano and neighboring States on the management of infectious diseases and to provide them with PPEs for protection. Private hospitals have also been advised to seek accreditation before taking up the management of infectious diseases.

Our collaboration with the Kano State Government still remains focused on strengthening their existing structures, especially for sustainability. The results coming out from the state is a comforting indication that efforts put in place, which are being strengthened, would yield expected results. 

The PTF has also received reports about medical facilities and doctors turning back sick patients for fear of their illnesses being COVID-19 related. The PTF appeals to these facilities especially public hospitals not to neglect treatment of other ailments because such actions have resulted in avioidable deaths.  The Honourable Minister of Health will engage the management of our tertiary health institutions to address this. ​

Ladies and gentlemen, I must as always, appreciate the tremendous support of all Nigerians during the previous phase. Worthy of mention are our Religious and Community Leaders, our frontline health workers, administrators, the members of the Press as well as all individuals and groups that have contributed to the successes achieved then. The battle is still ahead of us as a nation. Together we shall overcome.

As we commence this new phase today, we would require your greater understanding and support to ensure that our decision does not result in compromising our health for our wealth. I count on the resilient Nigerian spirit and call on all of us to make this phase work. It can only be done with the active cooperation of the citizenry.

I will now call on the Minister of Health, the DG-NCDC and the National Coordinator to provide updates you on new developments.

I thank you for listening.