President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, received the end of year report of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The event took place at the State House, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, in his address, noted that the year 2020 has been most challenging for the whole of humanity as a result of the havoc wreaked by the pandemic on lives, livelihoods, global and national economies, governance structures, health, social welfare and other systems.
Here is the full test of the President’s speech:
It has consumed an inordinate amount of resources deployed to address it by countries of the world, without abating.
Sadly, the COVID 19 pandemic has also taken and keeps taking precious lives of our loved ones, leaving several homes, families and associates to mourn. May the Almighty God grant all those that have lost their lives to this deadly virus eternal rest.
Closely associated with the foregoing is the need to speedily and strategically access and administer the COVID vaccine in a safe, effective and timely manner. This is an important obligation that we owe Nigerians as we go into year 2021 and it must be carried out through efficient machinery.
Accordingly, I have authorised the following measures for implementation:
a. The extension of the mandate of the PTF for a further period till the end of March, 2021 bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases and the bid for vaccines;
b. That the PTF should coordinate the process for planning and the strategy for accessing, delivery and administration of the vaccines using the existing health structures that have worked in the past in vaccine administration;
c. Authorised the PTF to engage with the States for them to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions. Details of the advisory measures have already been announced; and
d. Authorised the PTF and the Nigeria Immigration Service to ensure that all in-bound passengers who failed to show up for post -arrival COVID-19 test are sanctioned within the ambit of the law, for breaching the public health protocols.
The nation is clearly in a perilous situation given the virulent nature of this second wave and we must act decisively to protect our people. I therefore urge all sub-national entities, traditional rulers, religious and leaders of thought to collaborate with the PTF by taking up the responsibility for risk communication and community engagement at all levels. Now is the time for collective efforts to be intensified.
As the festive season approaches, I urge all Nigerians to remain vigilant and stay safe. Non-essential trips and large social gatherings should be avoided or shelved completely