Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, who raised the concern on Thursday during the daily press briefing by the task force in Abuja.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Sunday said it has no problem with state governments that ordered reopening of places of worships.

Boss Mustapha, the chairman of the PTF, who who spoke to journalists at the end of a closed door meeting with President Buhari on Sunday said the constitution gives power to the states to do so by the constitution as sub-nationals.

According to him, issues of places of worship and businesses that were not opened hitherto are part of the packages discussed with the President.

Mustapha said the Committee has also made appropriate recommendations to the President on the issues.

“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 sub-nationals, they have their own responsibilities too.

He said: “That’s part of what we have considered in its totality. We will await Mr President’s on that, once I receive his approval, going forward, to certain recommendations we have put in place, we will know how that would happen.

“The issue of easing up, you know we are in the first phase, we had an extension of two weeks for the first phase, the next phase should be the second phase and along with that will come in with a lot of recommendations, which we expect Mr President to consider.

“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.’’


Mustapha assured that essential parts of the economy would continue opening up to boost socio-economic activities across the country.

“We have started, even in the first phase and the extension that came with it.

“Essential parts of the economy was opening up by way of allowing agricultural production, people that produce fertilizers.

“The oil and gas industry was never closed for one day and some aspects of the financial sector were opened.

“After we receive Mr President’s approval tonight or tomorrow morning, we will now know which segment of the economy he has allowed to open,’’ he further revealed.

On whether Nigeria is winning the fight against COVID-19, considering the rate of infections, Mustapha said:

“We are winning. As a matter of fact, you juxtapose the rate of cases with our fatality rate, which is basically about three per cent, in other countries and other climes, it’s over 10 per cent.

“But the most important thing that you will realise, when we started this exercise, we had only five testing stations, now we’ve ramped it up to 28, without the expected increase in the number of deaths.

“We have gone beyond 60,000 now, that reflects in the number of confirmed cases

“We have not reached the peak yet and I won’t want to fool Nigerians by telling them that we are out of the woods. No, we are not out of the woods.

“As we even open up and accommodate more enterprises, because we are trying to have a balance between livelihoods and life, there’s a likelihood of increase in transmission in cases,’’ he said.

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