The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, said Wednesday that Nigeria is no longer in the top five countries by cumulative deaths in Africa as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a briefing in Abuja, the SGF said the federal government and the European Union were perfecting control measures regarding flights into Nigeria,especially as daily passengers into the soars to 4,500.
“Although Nigeria is no longer in the top five countries by cumulative deaths in Africa, the PTF continues to urge Nigerians to change their attitude of scepticism and nonchalance to the virus. For the avoidance of doubts, the virus is real, ferocious and deadly.
“To date, Nigeria has recorded 59,738 confirmed cases and 1,113 fatalities. The PTF is fully conscious, but not deceived, by the fact that our recovery rate is high and very encouraging. We still urge, however, that everyone should get tested because testing is the only way to detect, isolate, trace and treat.
“Media reports have suggested that many Nigerians do not trust the government and its agencies. We need to continue to build mutual trust between government and the governed if successes already recorded are to be sustained in the fight against COVID-19.
“The PTF and relevant agencies are working with the European Union on the issue of flights into Nigeria. As soon as negotiations are completed, Nigerians will be informed accordingly. For flights currently allowed into Nigeria, we are seeing a combined number of 4,500 arriving passengers per day into Lagos and Abuja.
“Let me remind all Nigerians that like our diamond anniversary celebration, the COVID-19 has made year 2020 a most significant year for us in Nigeria. We need to do all we can to survive it and we have the solutions in our hands. Together let us take responsibility,” he said.
The SGF also told journalists that gunmen recently killed an official of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Mr Uche Njoku, while on official duties, stressing that the incident underscores the dangers health workers face on behalf of Nigerians.
“On a very sad note, we have received report of the untimely death of Mr. Uche Njoku, a laboratory expert with the NCDC, who was shot while on official trip by unknown gunmen.
“The PTF commiserate with his family and all frontline workers on this painful loss. We also wish the other workers in the vehicle that were injured a quick recovery.
“This incident underscores the danger that frontline workers face in the course of fighting this virus on our behalf. We urge all Nigerians to continue to pray for the safety of all frontline workers and their families,” he said.