The Federal Government has urged stakeholders in the education sector to ensure strict adherence to all agreed protocols as schools open for exit examinations classes.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this on Monday in Abuja at the 54th joint national briefing of the taskforce.
According to him, though reopening of schools for exit examinations was considered necessary because the education sector is critical to the development of the nation, the reopening still remains a source for concern because schools could be a fertile ground for community transmission of the virus.
“Similarly, we informed you about the date that exit examination classes in schools would reopen preparatory to the commencement of the examination.
“I wish to restate that the Education sector is critical for the development of our children and our nation.
“Reopening the sector is also a source of concern based on the fact that the school system remains a veritable ground for increasing community transmission if appropriate protocols are not put in place and more importantly adhered to.
“In this regard, the PTF wishes to implore stakeholders to ensure that the agreed protocols are put in place and measures strictly adhered to,” Mustapha said.
Guidelines for elections
On the PTF’s efforts at finding new and safer ways of sorting out critical public issues, the SGF said the task force was already concluding discussions with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on what the guidelines should be for the upcoming elections, especially in Edo and Ondo states.
He, however, charged candidates, political party leaders, supporters, and the electorate to go about the upcoming elections, bearing it in mind that COVID-19 is still very much around and still very active and dangerous.
“The National Response would continue to guide the adoption of sector-specific guidelines and protocols just as the PTF is currently concluding discussions with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on appropriate guidelines to be adopted for elections beginning with the August 8th Bye-Election in Nasarawa State to be followed by those for Edo and Ondo States in September and October respectively,” he said.
He, therefore, warned party leaders, aspirants, members, and supporters to remain mindful of the virulent nature of COVID-19 during electioneering campaigns and other election processes.
He said, “We need to remain alive to enjoy the benefits of our democracy.”
He added that surveillance had commenced in the identified high-burden council areas of the country.
He said, “The PTF continues to push forward with the Community engagement, risk communication and support to States.
“There is on-going surveillance in the high burden Local Government Areas just as we ramp up our precision efforts.
“Similarly, the Federal Government is supporting the States to firm up their Incidence Action Plans preparatory to their accessing the World Bank facility for the fight against COVID-19.”
Interim report on the way forward
He also said that the PTF will submit its 6th Interim Report to Mr. President and subject to his approval, the PTF will present the way forward to Nigerians at the next briefing on Thursday.
He said, “I am happy to inform you that, as the ECOWAS Champion on the Containment of COVID-19 in the West African Sub-Region, Mr. President (Buhari) made a donation of N67m worth of PPEs and medical supplies to the government and people of Sao Tome and Principe.
“The PTF wishes to thank all Nigerians that continue to respond to call for involvement in the National Response. In this regard, we thank the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, for donating four motorized modular fumigators (two each to the PTF and the FCT).
“In the same vein, we want to appreciate the UN Basket and European Union for delivering the second tranche of the PPEs, medical supplies and equipment.”