Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
CHAIRMAN of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari would decide on the resumption date for schools, mosques and churches.
Mustapha who led the PTF team to submit its report to the President yesterday said the task force submitted the fourth interim report to the president and appraised him of progress made in the last two weeks.
With authorities in Kogi and Cross River states rejecting results of coronavirus tests by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 also disclosed that it was President Buhari who has the final say on efforts to ensure no state operates as an island in the fight to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
Mustapha stated this against the backdrop of Kogi State rejecting two index cases of coronavirus reported by the NCDC last week Wednesday. Cross Rivers remains the only state that is COVID-19 free with allegations that these two states have not cooperated with the NCDC in allowing unhindered tests on citizens and residents.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) recently urged the Federal Government to direct, through the Presidential Task Force (PTF), an investigation into the coronavirus-free status of Kogi and Cross Rivers States
Mustapha said the refusal of the two states to cooperate with the NCDC came up during discussions with President Buhari.
“We are doing everything to ensure that the entire nation is on the same page with one response and it is very important that we realise that no state is an island unto itself, when you deal with public health matters. Whatever happens in a particular locality has the consequences of spilling off to other constituencies. That is the message that we’ll continue to drive in our pursuit of getting everybody to be on board and I can assure you that there’s no island that exists as far as COVID-19 is concerned in this country.
“We must integrate all responses from the different segments of the community and the state and have everybody to be on the same page. We will continue to pursue that and we must also ensure that it happens. I can assure about that,”said Mustapha.
On reopening of worship centres, Mustapha said the PTF was awaiting the directive from the President.
“We have made the appropriate recommendations. But you know that Mr. President is the only one that can take decisions in respect of that. In the framework, the states are sub-nationals; they have their own responsibilities too. So, it is in the exercise of those responsibilities that they met with religious bodies and agreed on the protocols and guidelines on how to open up. But in the framework of the national response, we are taking that into consideration,” he said.