The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has appealed to Nigerians to work with government and help avert the gloomy predictions about the country by international opinions.
Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who rendered the plea on Friday at the daily press briefing of the task force in Abuja, said those analysing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the level of responses by countries had predicted that Nigeria would crash under the weight of the health crisis.
He pointed out that the federal government, with all the measures already announced, had been doing its part to ensure that the dire predictions about Nigeria do not materialise, but noted that the safety measures would be of no effect eventually if every Nigerian failed to play his part.
He cited developments in Europe and other developed economies, pointing particularly at the heavy toll the health crisis had taken on their economic and social lives, and how much death they had been recording on a daily basis, even with their advancement in health innovation and technology.
He said though some of the measures introduced to manage the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria might have proven harsh and unusual, he said President Muhammadu Buhari had been trying everything possible to make the weight a lot lighter by introducing various sorts of cushions to the effects.
“We have to be very careful here so that we do not tie the hands of our law enforcement agencies and incapacitate them from being efficient and effective in the implementation of this lockdown.
“In a lot of countries, like in Russia and the rest, you can’t talk about the punitive processes that have been put in place. You decide to disregard the regulations that have been put in place, there’s a place that has been prepared for you in jail for certain numbers of years.
“I have emphasised that what we are trying to do is to have Nigerians own this process, it’s for our good, to protect ourselves and to protect our loved ones. We must push this narrative put there so that we take ownership of the process.
“I recounted to you earlier that the President said on no account should any Nigerian suffer any loss as a result of this lockdown. So, with the compassionate heart of a father, the President desires that we take ownership of this to create the atmosphere that will embolden the security agencies to work with us, to secure our people, to secure the health and the wealth of our nation.
‘COVID-19 is not an ordinary virus, it has overtaken the world with a storm. As of yesterday (Thursday) I think there are about 204 countries of the world, I stand to be corrected by the representative of the WHO, are battling with this. Some are recording deaths in thousands, as of their statistics these days.
“As of yesterday, our fatality is still two, if we work together, by the grace of God, we can keep it as low as we can, but if we decide to work at cross purposes, let us just look at the picture of what is happening in Europe. If we think it cannot happen here, then we are deceiving ourselves.
“We need to rise, we need to work as a people to ensure that we have something going for us as a nation. Let’s prove the world wrong on this because the expectation is that we will crush under this.
“Major networks of the world are carrying such news items; that Nigeria is definitely going to crush under this, but I know that the Nigerian resilience and the Nigerian spirit will overcome this as we overcame past epidemics”, Mustapha said.