President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the lifespan of the presidential task force on COVID-19 till March 2021.
Speaking while receiving the end-of-the-year report of the task force at the presidential villa in Abuja on Tuesday, the president said the nation cannot afford to lose the gains of the past nine months in the fight against the virus.
In March, the president had named Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, as head of the 12-man task force.
The president also called for vigilance amid the surge in COVID-19 cases
“Recent reports reaching me indicate that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world,” he said.
“New epicentres have been identified and the nation cannot afford to lose the gains of the last nine months. I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread and the attendant fatalities.
“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 an efficient machinery.”
The President added that “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.”