Remarks by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/Chairman of the PTF-COVID-19 at the National Briefing of Tuesday 14th April, 2020



Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I welcome you to the National Briefing for the 14th of April, 2020.

2. You will recall that when the PTF briefed the nation on Monday 13th, we reported that our assessment had been submitted to Mr. President and we also advised that Nigerians should await further pronouncements. Today’s briefing is therefore very significant because of the National Broadcast of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari yesterday 13th April, 2020 which was the second in two weeks on the National Response to COVID-19 pandemic.

3. The Presidential Broadcast addressed several critical issues of concern to our survival as a nation. After very meticulous assessment of the recommendations of the PTF, Mr. President has authorized the extension of the restriction of movement in Lagos & Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory for an additional fourteen days effective Monday 13th April, 2020.

4. Such a monumental decision has been taken at great pains and we continue to appeal to Nigerians to show a lot of understanding, comply with orders, observe social distancing, keep a high level of personal and respiratory hygiene, stay at home unless it is compelling to go out and generally take responsibility for playing your individual role in this war.

5. Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. President’s speech is self-explanatory, I wish to underscore the importance attached to some areas.

Para 3: President’s acceptance of responsibility as a democratically elected leader who has the overall interest of Nigerians at heart;

Paras 7-11: Appreciation and thanks to cross-cutting categories of Nigerians, religious organizations, the media for the overwhelming support and sacrifices made in the last fourteen days that enabled us to make modest achievements;

Paras 19-20: Special accolades and appreciation to our frontline health workers for their immeasurable contributions to the successes recorded so far. The motivation packages will be unfolded very soon;

Paras 22-32: Concern of Mr. President about the increase in the number of confirmed cases despite the progress made under the national response;

Para 33: President’s charge to Nigerians to take responsibility for the recommended measures;

Para 34: Emphasizes that new regulations, protocols and guidelines will be released soon;

Para 39-44: Underscoring the seriousness of the decision to lockdown:

“This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have been closed. The Pope celebrated Mass on an empty St. Peter’s Square. The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris held Easter Mass with less than 10 people. India, Italy and France are in complete lockdown. Other countries are in the process of following suit. We cannot be lax.”

Paras 45-48: Expression of concern about the impact of the lockdown on majority of Nigerians who do not have a regular source of income which informed the expansion of the palliative measures;

Para 49: Assurance to citizens that security agencies maintain vigilance and sustain high levels of protection always;

Paras 51-53: Deepening collaboration with subnational entities and the legislature;

Paras 55-57: Preparing Nigerians to work within the new constricting realities imposed by COVID-19 .

6. In furtherance of the support Nigeria has been receiving, the European Union delegation to Nigeria met with Mr. President this morning and contributed the sum of Fifty Million Euros which will be channeled through the One COVID-19 Basket Fund to facilitate rapid procurement of equipment, consumables, supporting socio-economic interventions for vulnerable groups and other aspects of treatment and critical care continuum.

7. Before I invite the Minister of Health, the DG-NCDC and the National Coordinator to brief you, let me welcome the Inspector General of Police who is joining us to reassure Nigerians of the readiness of the Police to protect our lives and property.

8. I now yield the podium to the Minister of Health to update Nigerians