- Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you all to the briefing for Friday, 24th April, 2020. 2.
- I begin the briefing for today by saying Ramadan Kareem to all our Muslim brothers and sisters nationwide. This is a season of supplication and I pray that the almighty shall accept all our supplication, cleanse our land and show mercy upon his people.
- Yesterday, the ECOWAS Heads of State held a Summit via video conference to chart a common course for the sub-region on COVID-19. The Summit was concerned about the negative social, economic, financial and human security impact of COVID-19 on all ECOWAS Member States as well as the serious threat posed to the regional intergration process and regional peace and security agenda.
- I am pleased to inform you that in consideration of the need to ensure high-level coordination of all the regional efforts to contain the pandemic, the summit appointed H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria as CHAMPION, to coordinate the COVID-19 response and eradication process.
- This is a monumental recognition for the leadership role of our President and an endorsement of the direction we are headed in our national response. The implication of this assignment is that the PTF must now factor the West African Sub-region into its plan and activities, to support Mr. President in his new role. I must add that the Summit also set up Ministerial Coordination Committees on Health, Finance, and Transport to coordinate Regional efforts , under the supervision of the CHAMPION.
- Today the welfare of our frontline heros, the health workers, came to the front burner. I am pleased to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Health working in conjunction with other MDAs and the Health sector professional bodies have signed an MOU for various allowances and other incentives. The full details will be unveiled to you by the Hon. Minister of Health soon.
- I am however pleased to inform you that, in addition to what the Federal Government is doing, the Insurance Industry has responded massively to the call for support. The PTF has received the Life Insurance cover to the frontline workers on COVID-19 for a maximum of 5000 health workers who are employed to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The premium in the sum of N112,500,000 for the cover has been fully paid by the Nigerian Insurance Industry in line with the principle of No Premium, No Cover.
- The PTF wishes to thank the Insurance Industry immensely and calls on others sectors of the economy to rise up to support the efforts to fight COVID-19. I also call on our frontline health workers to double their efforts just as we assure them of our determination to protect them.
- I informed you earlier in the week that the PTF had embarked on the assessment of the readiness in nine states. The visits have been quite informative and we have as a consequence strengthened our collaboration with States. The PTF will be fine tuning the directions and advisories in order to effectively guide the states and for uniformity of approach. I use this opportunity to once more commend the governments of all states visited for providing leadership and resources in their preparations.
- I also wish to use this opportunity to restate that food security and self-sufficiency remain important to our national life. I therefore urge all our farmers to begin to prepare for their return to the farms as the planting season. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has put in place arrangements for access to farm inputs, extension and others services.
- The PTF continues to work assiduously towards presenting a Report to Mr. President after considering all critical factors. Let me state that these are unusual times, we are in uncharted territories and we need to forge ahead. As we work out our models, we also draw lessons from other jurisdictions that have experiences to share. We shall however continue to pursue the strategy of aggressive testing, detection, isolation, contact tracing, treatment and care.
- Finally, let me repeat my appeal to all Nigerians to continue to comply with the advisories. These are still the most efficient measures that can help us manage the ravaging virus.
- I now invite the Hon. Minister of Health to present his update.
- Thank you for listening.
Remarks by the secretary to the government of the federation at the PTF COVID19 national briefing for Friday 24th April 2020
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