By Chimezie Godfrey
CLEEN Foundation has called on the Federal government to expand the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, by including women, People Living With Disabilities, PLWDs, the youths and Civil Society Organizations, CSOs.
This it said will ensure effective representation of all segment of society in the fight against the pandemic.
This was contained in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Dr. Benson Olugbuo and made available to Newsdiaryonline on Thursday.
Olugbuo noted that the critical voices of women, religious leaders, youths, civil society organisations and persons living with disabilities are missing in the current membership of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 pandemic.
He therefore stressed that this should be corrected for effective representation.
Olugbuo also decried the decline in the use of facemasks, other personal protective equipment (PPE) and compliance to other public health advisory by citizens, among other gaps in the fight against the pandemic.
“The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 pandemic should be expanded to include more women, religious leaders, youths, CSOs and persons living with disabilities to ensure effective representation of all sections of the society in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
“Federal and State governments need to prioritize aggressive community sensitization and awareness campaigns on the reality of the pandemic and the need to adhere to the public health and safety advisory guidelines provided by the Federal Government and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.
“The National Orientation Agency must be seen to play a very strategic role in taking the appropriate message to local communities and grassroots on the effects of community transmission on the nation.
“Nigerian citizens should comply with all non-pharmaceutical guidelines provided by the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to reduce the increasing spread of the virus as has been observed in recent weeks,” he stated.
The CLEEN Executive Director urged the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to ensure a continuous evaluation of the strategies deployed in tackling the spread of the virus.
He added that this would be inclusive of community leaders to enhance the strategies particularly now with the increasing community transmission and recorded infections.
Olugbuo urged State governments to work with the organised private sector to provide mobile testing units to ensure that majority of Nigerians have access to testing and emergency health care services.
He further called on the National Assembly to consider victims of sexual and gender based violence and enact laws that grant them access to justice.
“We commend the leadership of both houses of the National Assembly on the consideration to organize a joint special session on Sexual and Gender-based Violence which is a step in the right direction to address the issue.
“We however enjoin the National Assembly to ensure that all recommendations to address the systemic challenges that impede access to justice and comprehensive support for victims, survivors and their families are considered,” he stressed.
Olugbuo urged the Federal and State Governments to prioritize improving public safety and security of the citizens always and in all places, especially the ongoing security issues in the North West and North East which requires adequate attention.