President Muhammadu Buhari has authorised the Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS) and Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ensure that all in-bound passengers who fail to show up for post-arrival COVID-19 test are sanctioned within the ambit of the law, for breaching the public health protocols.
Buhari, who gave the order on Tuesday while receiving the End-of-Year Report of the PTF at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the nation cannot afford to lose the gains of the past nine months in the fight against the pandemic.
The president also extended the mandate of the PTF till the end of March, 2021, due to the new surge in the number of cases and bid for vaccines.
“The PTF should coordinate the process for planning and the strategy for accessing, delivery and administration of the vaccines using the existing health structures that have worked in the past in vaccine administration.
“I Authorised the PTF to engage with the states for them to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions. Details of the advisory measures have already been announced,” Buhari said.
The president added that the nation is clearly in a perilous situation given the virulent nature of the second wave, adding that government must act decisively to protect the people.
“I therefore urge all sub-national entities, traditional rulers, religious and leaders of thought to collaborate with the PTF by taking up the responsibility for risk communication and community engagement at all levels. Now is the time for collective efforts to be intensified.
“As the festive season approaches, I urge all Nigerians to remain vigilant and stay safe. Non-essential trips and large social gatherings should be avoided or shelved completely,” the president added.
Speaking, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, said there is need to urgently establish a dedicated fund to address all pandemics and outbreaks.
“The significance of building on the synergy established with the private sector, the National Assembly and the sub-national entities. These lessons are by no means exhaustive,” he said.