President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday received briefing from the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, on the activities of the PTF across the country.
Mustapha, who spoke to State House correspondents on the outcome of the closed door meeting, said they briefed the president on the activities and overall positions of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“This is part of a routine exercise. I think this is about the third time that we have had cause to submit an interim report to him on our activities as a task force, and also to update him on preparation for the other phases of engagement.
“We have supplied him with all the materials required to look at the issues; we are in for the long hurl, this is not a short distance race. It is a marathon and we have to keep everything in perspective.
“Remember that on April 27, he addressed the nation and put in place the easing down of the lockdown effective from May 4. From May 4 to date is about 13 days, tomorrow we should expect new processes to be put in place.
“But we have to give him all the details to help us in preparing for the future. So that is why we are here.”
On whether the PTF has achieved its objectives, Mustapha said: “I can say to a large extent we have achieved the PTF objectives.
“We might not be there totally but I am confident that looking at the strategies that we are putting in place, going forward we will strengthen those objectives that we have substantially achieved which are purpose-driven in terms of dealing with COVID-19. Like I said, it is not a 100 meter race, it is a marathon.
“I can assure you that the proposals we have brought today for Mr President’s consideration, I think, holistically, will put us in a better frame to deal with the future.”
He stated that the PTF may introduce community-based approach towards the fight against the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
He maintained that the PTF would continue to preach against congregation so as to check community transmission of the deadly virus.
“Congregations are the easiest places where you can get infected in terms of transmission, and that is why we try as much as possible to discourage congregations in all that we do.
“This is because the aged, the sick and the vulnerable will turn up in congregations and once they get infected, it becomes another ball game all together.
“So the zeal now and the drive will be geared towards community ownership,’’ he added.
On the Madagascar’s herbal solution supplied to Nigeria, Mustapha said the PTF was not in the possession of the `drug’.
He, however, maintained that the Madagascan native formulation, when obtained, must undergo scientific clarification before being administered to patients as earlier stated by President Buhari.
“The president has already said it will be scientifically dealt with, it is only after that that he can allow it to be tested.
“But that has been our position that whatever comes in, whatever cure, whatever solution that is being provided must be subjected to a process of validation.
“The minister of health has institutions under his ministry that are charged statutorily with the processes of validation.
“Anything that we will receive, anything that is locally developed must go through the processes of validation before we will allow it.’’
President Buhari had on Sunday received the Madagascan native formulation against the COVID-19 pandemic from the President of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who was on official visit to Nigeria.
Buhari, after receiving the formulation, said he would listen to science before allowing traditional or any new medicines to be administered on Nigerians.
The Nigerian leader said: “We have our institutions, systems and processes in the country. Any such formulations should be sent to them for verification.
“I will not put it to use without the endorsement of our institutions.’’
NAN reports that the PTF chairman, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was accompanied on the visit to the State House by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu.(NAN)