Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has thanked Nigerians for complying with all the preventive measures being put in place by the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement released by his media aide Segun Adeyemi, Lai stated that the Nigerian government at its highest level is already leading by example. According to the Minister, President Buhari has cut down the number of courtesy visits and is also not shaking hands.
We thank Nigerians for complying with all the preventive measures being put in place by the government. These include social distancing (deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. This entails staying at least six feet away from other people), cancellation of events likely to attract large number of people, quarantine, self-isolation, suspension of services, etc.
The government, at the highest level, is already leading by example. Mr. President has cut down the number of courtesy visits. Mr. President is not shaking hands. One of the President’s daughters is in self isolation. The meeting of the heads of state of the Chad Basin Commission, scheduled for next week, has been cancelled. Visitors to the State House get their hands sanitized and their temperature taken at several points before reaching the executive council chambers.
The Minister who disclosed that the federal government is aware that some political and religious leaders have either denied the existence of coronavirus or have defied the directives to avoid a large gathering, urged leaders at all stratas to show great responsibility at this time.
The Federal Government is aware that some political and religious leaders have either denied the existence of coronavirus or have defied the directives to avoid a large gathering. Leaders of all hues must show great responsibility at this time. They must avoid putting the lives of not just their followers but also those of the general public in danger. Nigerians too must take responsibility, do what they are requested to do to stay safe and stop blaming others. For those who would continue to willfully flout the directives aimed at checking the spread of this disease, the long arm of the law will soon catch them.
We need the cooperation of all Nigerians in the area of ‘contact tracing’. As you may be aware, health services use ‘contact tracing’ to find people who may have been exposed to an infectious disease, in this case coronavirus. Those who have come into close contact with others who have coronavirus are at higher risk of infection, and of potentially infecting others. For those who will not cooperate by submitting to the authorities, as required, the government will use all lawful means at its disposal to trace and bring them in. Having now shut our gateway airports, the biggest assignment for us is ‘contact tracing’ to find all those who may have come into contact with those who have the disease.
Lai Mohammed also debunked claims of Africans and young people being immune to the virus. He disclosed that the Federal Government had set up an Inter-Ministerial/Multi Sectoral Preparedness and Response Committee to put in place an action plan for joint response, in the event that the importation of the disease occurs.
The statement added;
There is also the farce out there that the disease cannot affect Africans for one reason or another, or that the young is immune to it. This is not true. Based on what we know so far, no one is immune to this disease. In New York, for example, 54% of those infected are between the ages of 18 and 49. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, young people are not immune to coronavirus and must avoid socialising and communicating it to older, more vulnerable people.
Gentlemen, as far back as January 31st 2020, the Federal Government had set up an Inter-Ministerial/Multi Sectoral Preparedness and Response Committee to put in place an action plan for joint response, in the event that the importation of the disease occurs, to
ensure its containment. The committee started work immediately and has been responsible for the formulation of many of the containment measures so far rolled out.
And on March 9th, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari set up a Presidential Task Force for the Control of Coronavirus, especially the disease’s potential of causing significant disruption to health services in the country as well as impacting negatively on the economy.
While Nigeria has refused to succumb to panic in tackling this disease, it has not wavered in its preparedness. The government has taken a number of measures to contain the disease. They include:
– Restrictions of travel from 15 countries, each with more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The countries are China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the United States, Norway, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Sweden.
– Suspension of issuance of visa on arrival
-Cancellation of visas issued to nationals of these countries.
– Shutdown of international airports in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt
– Reduction of fuel price from 145 Naira to 125 Naira per litre
– Credit relief of 1.1 Trillion Naira announced by the CBN to
businesses affected by the pandemic.
– Establishment of a credit facility by the CBN for household, small and
medium enterprises (SMEs).
– Reduction of interest rates for loans from 9% to 5%, etc.
Lai Mohammed spoke against fake news which according to him can hamper efforts to tackle coronavirus in the country. He also asked Nigerians to report any false
or misleading report on Facebook and Instagram pages so they can immediately bring them down.