Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has assured that the on-going investigation into the causes of the recently reported high number of deaths in Kano State will be pursued to a logical conclusion.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the daily briefing of the committee.
According to him, a substantial foundation for a conscious fight against COVID-19 in Kano had already been established, adding that additional aids, from the PTF as well as the Nigeria military, were on the way.
He added that the team sent over to Kano on Monday to investigate the situation had already filed an interim report on its findings, adding that the federal government was poised to investigate the recent high number of strange deaths thoroughly.
Mustapha said: “Also, the on-going investigation into the causes of the recently reported high number of deaths will be pursued to a logical conclusion.
“I wish to reassure all Nigerians resident in Kano that the Federal Government and particularly this PTF is with them and shall do all possible to fight the spread in the State as directed by the president.
“Kano is one of our historical cities and remains a backbone for the economy of this nation.
“The already established isolation and treatment centres with a holding capacity for 274 persons, the proposed establishment of additional facilities with capacity for 500, two sample-collection centres along with six new proposed centres have provided a strong foundation for tackling the spread of the virus in the State,” he said.
Mustapha added that the Nigerian military, under its COVID-19 response plan, will establish an additional isolation centre, treatment facility and a Testing Laboratory Service in Kano State.
The SGF said, “The PTF COVID-19, in the immediate, would further strengthen Kano State to scale-up its response with the provision of necessary facilities and equipment, capacity building, improving stakeholder inter-phase and guidance on any existing policy capable of diminishing the fight against the pandemic in the State.
“Already, the testing laboratories in the AKTH and the BUK have become fully functional. The PTF has released a number of equipment to be transported immediately to Kano to beef up the response.”
He listed the equipment as two Oxygen Concentration and three ventilators; 280 protective gowns; 51 face shields; 538 examination gloves; 25 boot covers; medical masks and surgical caps; and Infra-Red Thermometers.
He expressed confidence that the above collaboration complemented by the lockdown directed by the president will be effective in slowing down the spread while government continues to test, detect, isolate, contact trace and manage cases.
He added that as the nation approach the commencement of the first of a three-phased easing of lockdown from Monday, May 4th, 2020, it was important that Nigerians received and digest the implementation guidelines.
He said it was also important for states, law enforcement agents, trade associations, employers, businesses and citizens to understand their roles, obligations and responsibilities.
He said: “Above all, we must understand that this is still a war against an unseen and potent enemy. No one should mistake the easing of restrictions for permission to act without care. The security agents have been instructed to respect the rights of citizens while also ensuring strict enforcement.”
The SGF said the PTF is adopting a combination of channels to create enhanced awareness and understanding of these new guidelines, including publication in print media and social media; broadcast on electronic media; dissemination in local languages; and use of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in disseminating to all the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
The SGF said that to complement the above, members of the PTF would be participating in different television and radio programmes to elucidate these guidelines.
“As you know, our National Response is driven by strong collaboration with the sub-national levels of government. In this, I am glad to mention that Lagos State has already adapted these implementation guidelines, while other states are also expected to follow suit shortly,” Mustapha said.