By Williams Anuku Abuja
While advanced nations are looking up to consolidate on the Covid-19 vaccine produced by pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, the Nigerian government is strengthening its lobbying strategy to make sure it is not excluded from the distribution.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid 19, Boss Mustapha gave this indication on Monday, in Abuja, saying, “there has been a lot of positive developments around the world regarding vaccines. This is a significant achievement. However, before it becomes available, we urge you to continue to comply with the non-pharmaceutical interventions. The PTF is already working on the strategy for gaining access to the vaccine as soon as they are available”.
Boss expressed grief over the massacre of rice farmers in Borno State, while mourning with President Muhammadu Buhari over the incident.
He said, “the members of the PTF, on a very painful note, wish to express our deepest condolences to Mr. President, the Government and people of Bornu State over the recent massacre of farmers by insurgents. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and we pray that the Almighty God shall comfort them”.
He reiterated that humanity has been under the siege of COVID-19 but that Nigerians cannot afford to relax our security even as we mount a national response.
According to him, all citizens must remain vigilant, stressing that the business of safety against COVID-19 and security against insurgents and other forms of criminal activities is the business of everybody.
The PTF Chairman put the global number of COVID-19 infections at 63 million as at Sunday, 29th November, 2020,adding that the USA crossed the 13 million mark and has been recording high daily case incidence of over 130,000 for two straight weeks.
In Africa, he said Nigeria ranks 5th for both the highest cumulative cases and deaths.
On the mobilisation of National Youth Service Corps members, Boss said the first stream of members deplored had been successful, noting that they will build on the successes recorded so far.
“We are pleased to inform you that the first stream of NYSC has concluded camping while we expect the 2nd stream to go to camp on 3rd December and the third stream would be in January 2021.
Necessary measures, building on the successes of the first stream, have been taken. The PTF is escalating its surveillance and testing drive to ensure that the spread of the virus is effectively contained even as we approach the festive season. We shall continue to remind Nigerians that all non-essential trips should be put off this December.
“This is for your safety and good health, “he stated.