Following the suspension placed on the resumption of schools, religious gathering amongst others, by President Muhammadu Buhari to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has insisted that lifting up of the ban remains the decision of the president to take.
This coming against the backdrops of pressures from various individuals calling for the resumption of schools, and religious gathering.
However, the Chairman of the PTF Boss Mustapha while reacting to the pressure on the opening of worship centres, told State House correspondents after a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that, we would wait for Mr. President response on that once I receive his approval going forward as to certain recommendations that we have put in place, we will see how that one happens.
Mustapha who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, further stated that, “The issue of easing up, you know we are in the first phase we have an extension of two weeks for the first phase, the next phase should be the second phase, along with that we came in with a lot of recommendations which we expect Mr President to consider.
“But I can assure you about one thing, that the ownership of the next phase will be the responsibility of the states under national supervision and coordination because we have gone into community transmission.
” Where are the communities? The communities are in the states so the ownership of the next phase will be that of the states, the local government areas, the traditional institutions, the religious leaders at the different levels of our communities because that is where the problem is.
“Like we have kept saying, 20 Local governments out of 774 accounts for 60 per cent of confirmed cases in Nigeria today. So where are these 20 local government, they are in communities. It means we have reached the apex of community transmission and we must get the communities involved.
“So the issues of places of worships, the issues of schools, the issues of some certain businesses that were not opened hitherto are part of the packages that we have looked at and we have made the appropriate recommendations, but you know that Mr President is the only one that can take decisions in respect of that.
“In the framework, the states are subnational, they have their own responsibilities too, so it is in the exercise of those responsibilities that they had meetings with those religious bodies and agreed on the guidelines and protocols on how they open up, but in the framework of the national response we are taking that into consideration.”