Mr Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, announced this on Monday.
He made the announcement at the briefing of the PTF which held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“We informed you two weeks ago that the process of submitting the 6th Interim Report and recommendations for next steps had commenced,” said Mustapha who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
He added, “The PTF has reached advanced stages of the process. It has also considered that due to the upcoming Sallah (Eid-El-Kabir) festivities which coincide with the expiration of the current phase, it would be prudent to extend by one week, from 29th July 2020 till Thursday 6th August 2020.
“It has accordingly secured permission to retain the existing guidelines until that date.”
The PTF chairman noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the extension of phase two of the eased lockdown by another four weeks and was due to expire on Wednesday.
He decried that the level of compliance with the existing COVID-19 protocols was discouraging, stressing that a majority of Nigerians have continued to live in denial of the dangerous nature of the disease.
Read the full text of the SGF’s speech at the briefing below:
REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION/CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF-COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL PRESS BRIEFING OF MONDAY, 27TH JULY, 2020
I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Monday, 27th July 2020.
You will recall that we briefed the nation on the 29th of June, 2020 sequel to the approval of Mr. President for the extension of phase two of the eased lockdown by another four weeks. That extension is due to expire on Wednesday 29th July 2020 having commenced on June 30th, 2020.
The PTF has continued to evaluate the developments as well as the level of compliance nationwide and has regrettably come to the inevitable conclusion that majority of Nigerians irrespective of status, creed, and level of education continue to live in denial on the virulent nature of the virus and consistently breach the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures put in place.
We informed you two weeks ago that the process of submitting the 6th Interim Report and recommendations for the next steps had commenced. The PTF has reached advanced stages of the process.
It has also considered that due to the upcoming Sallah (Eid El-Kabir) festivities which coincides with the expiration of the current phase, it would be prudent to extend by one week, from 29th July 2020 till Thursday 6th August 2020. It has accordingly secured permission to retain the existing guidelines until that date.
Considering the importance of international air travel to the economy, the PTF and the Aviation Sector are working hard to fast track the reopening of the international airspace.
Most importantly, the arrival protocols for passengers on inbound flights are being firmed up for seamless testing and detection. Relevant MDAs will be holding further consultations.
The COVID-19 remains very virulent and very dangerous. Current statistics show the following:
(i) Global Cases Recorded:16,380,397 cases from 215 countries,
Global Deaths: 651,198
Global Recoveries: 10,093,403
WHO statistics show that on 24th July 2020 the world recorded 284,000 confirmed cases and 9,750 deaths. Both were records in terms of the spike in daily numbers and they represent a red flag to all nations.
Our analysis has shown that people over 50 years of age especially those with underlying factors remain most at risk. This position is backed by the fact that 65% of fatalities recorded in Nigeria are in this category.
That brings me to the need to appeal to Nigerians on the need for a change of behaviour and compliance with guidelines and measures put in place. If you do not need to go outside your home, please stay indoors. Avoid large gatherings and observe all the measures.
In recent times, our risk communication teams have developed messages aimed at resonating very well with different demographic groups.
The common string is the message for compliance and the proper wearing of face masks and coverings in public spaces. The National Coordinator will be elaborating further on this.
As we prepare for the Eid-El-Kabir celebration, we also want to urge all our Muslim Brothers and Sisters and indeed all Nigerians to continue to observe all measures. We note with delight, the increasing number of States that have shelved activities during the Eid-el-Kabir and we still urge others yet to do so, to follow suit.
WHO has also issued Safe Eid practices in the context of COVID-19 and I urge us all to access and disseminate. The National Coordinator will also elaborate on this.
Similarly, the PTF appreciates the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), who has always been a great champion in the fight against the pandemic for advising Muslims to avoid massive gatherings at Eid grounds and pray at Area Mosques under prescribed protocols.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that the PTF is making steady progress in bringing more states within the national network and reporting system.
This will greatly enhance the outcome of the COVID-19 national response and will be more beneficial to the citizens of those States and the country in general.
I now invite the Honourable Minister of Health, the DG NCDC, and the NC to present their updates.
I thank you all for listening.
Federal Govt Warns Civil Servants Not Join Labour Strike
The Federal Government has warned civil servants against participating in the planned nationwide strike called by the organised Labour.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and its affiliate unions had called on workers to embark on an indefinite industrial action on Monday over the price of petrol and electricity tariff.
But in a statement issued on Saturday, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, asked civil servants to be at work, saying the government is engaging with the union officials over the issue.
“Accordingly, all officers on grade level 12 and above and those on essential services are hereby strongly advised to be at work to perform their official duties.
“Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers are, therefore, enjoined to bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all concerned officers and ensure strict compliance,” the statement partly read.
Yemi-Esan argued that there is a court injunction granted by the National Industrial Court with suit number, NICN/ABJ/253/2020 issued on September 24 on the matter.
The court order, she noted, had restrained the NLC and TUC from embarking on any form of industrialisation action pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice.
“Sequel to the Labour Unions for workers to embark on industrial action from Monday, Sept. 28, the office of the HOCSF wishes to inform all public servants that the Federal Government team is currently engaging with the labour unions with the view to resolving all contentious issues and avert the planned industrial actions,” she said.
The HOCSF’s directive comes 24 hours after Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court in Abuja issued a fresh restraining order against the unions, following an ex parte application by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The fresh order came a day after the same judge made a similar restraining ex parte order in favour of a group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association, on Thursday.
The judge ordered that both the NLC and the TUC joined as the defendants in the suit should be served with the fresh court order within seven days from Friday.
Gov. El-Rufai Clarifies Selection Process Of New Zazzau Emir
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has reiterated the commitment of the state government in ensuring that the selection process for the new Emir of Zazzau is carefully done.
The governor disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday by his spokesman, Muyiwa Adekeye.
While quoting the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Balarabe Abbas, the procedure is for the kingmakers of Zazzau Emirate to address their recommendations to the Commissioner of Local Government Affairs, who will in turn process the document and forward to the Governor.
“Upon receipt of the correspondence from the commissioner, the SSG will avail the security agencies of the names on the shortlist for the necessary checks,” Adekeye said.
“It is the duty of the SSG to forward the recommendations and the associated security report to the Governor for his consideration.”
The governor’s spokesman confirmed that the report of the kingmakers has been submitted, adding that it is a step that will trigger the next sequence of events in the chain of reporting and security vetting.’
According to Adekeye, the SSG appealed for calm and understanding as the responsible institutions manage a selection process that was last used 45 years ago.
The former Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris died on September 20 at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in the Kaduna state capital after a brief illness.
He was 84 years and was buried the next day in the state.
NLC Insists On Monday Protest Despite Court Order
The Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday insisted that it will go on with its planned mass action scheduled for Monday, September 28.
In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest the increase in fuel and electricity prices.
The order was given despite a fresh court order obtained by the Federal Government, barring the NLC and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.
In the statement by Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, NLC asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobile at least 2000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.
Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7am also.
The NLC Secretary also noted that all Presidents and General Secretaries are expected to lead and identify with their members at the take-off point.
Reverse fuel, electricity price, or?
Earlier in September, Organised Labour threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if the Federal Government refuses to reverse the recent increases in fuel and electricity tariff.
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Ayuba Wabba while making the announcement in Abuja said the NLC’s central working committee (CWC) has resolved to issue a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the increase.
He said workers and Nigerians are disappointed that the government decided to increase both the price of fuel and electricity tariff at a time “other countries across the world are giving palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of COVID-19.”
“NLC central committee will also mobilise its members, civic society allies, and other social partners to resist this policy because it has driven many into poverty,” Wabba added.
Ahead of the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to resort to industrial action, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held an emergency meeting of all the governors.
Following the meeting, the NGF cautioned NLC against the planned strike, arguing that any plan to down tools will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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