Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of 70,000 tonnes of grains to Nigerians to help alleviate the harsh effects of COVID-19.
“The President has approved the release of 70,000 metric tonnes of grains from the National Strategic Reserve, for distribution to the poor, the vulnerable and those whose livelihoods will be affected by the lockdown. The first tranche of about 6,000 metric tonnes will go to Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, while the remaining will go to other frontline states in the fight against COVID-19.
“In the continuing effort to ensure very minimal disruption of upstream oil and gas exploration and operation in Nigeria, Mr. President has approved limited operations exemptions for operating companies, services and logistics companies in the Nigerian upstream sector. They will ensure regular gas supplies to power turbines that supply domestic electricity,” he said.
On the level of compliance with the restriction order by the President, the SGF said the PTF was impressed by reports received so far, noting though that there were still reports indicating that security operatives were having challenges, especially in states where governors had introduced their own measures.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has said 70 per cent of the over 5,000 contacts linked to persons infected with COVID-19 were being traced.
Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, said the ministry of health was using the opportunity of the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun to accelerate activities to detect, isolate and treat cases.
“This is important because our ability to achieve the objectives in these states will largely define our success in slowing the spread of infection in our country. As the federal and state governments deploy human and material resources to achieve this, a critical factor will be the cooperation of members of the public. I shall at this point remind everyone of the injunctions of the President to all citizens to stay at home in the areas under lockdown. By doing this, you would have contributed a lot to the efforts of government to quickly put coronavirus under control and return to our routine activities.
“As part of preparedness in the Abuja metropolis, we have 1,000 bed spaces ready for isolation and treatment of mild to moderate cases, which we can expand if need arises. We have ICU units ready in Gwagwalada and National Hospital, for those who may have complications, especially those with underlying illnesses like tuberculosis, HIV, cancer, and also the elderly.
“We again urge families to protect their elderly and vulnerable people by not exposing them to unnecessary social hazards,” he said.