President Muhammadu Buhari would decide on reopening of religious gathering today amidst Covid-19 pandemic after weeks.
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari would on Monday decide on the reopening of worship centres.
“That is part of what we have considered in its totality. We await Mr President’s decision on that. Once I receive his approval, going forward, as to certain recommendations that we have put in place, we will see how that happens,” the SGF stated while responding to question on the reopening of churches and mosques.
“The issue of easing up, you know we were in the first phase and we had an extension of two weeks for the first phase. The next phase should be the second phase and along with that, we came with a lot of recommendations which we expect Mr President to consider.
“I can assure you of one thing: the ownership of the next phase will be the responsibility of the states under national supervision and coordination, because we have gone into community transmission. Where are the communities? The communities are in the states.
“So, the ownership of the next phase will be that of the states, the local governments, the traditional institutions, the religious leaders at the different levels of our communities. That is where the problem is.
“Like we have kept saying, 20 local governments (areas) out of 744 account for 60 per cent of confirmed cases in Nigeria today. So, where are these 20 local governments? They are in the communities. It means that we have reached the epitome of community transmission, so we must get the communities involved.”
He further noted that the PTF had made appropriate recommendations regarding issues of places of worship, schools, and businesses.
“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. So, it is in the exercise of those responsibilities that they met with religious bodies and agreed on the protocols and guidelines on how to open up. But in the framework of the national response, we are taking that into consideration.”
Speaking on the reopening of the economy he said; “We have started, even in the first phase and the extension that came with it. The essential part of the economy was opened up by way of allowing agricultural production and people who produce fertiliser. The oil and gas industry was never closed for one day. Haulage, refining and prospecting continued. Some parts of the financial sector were opened.
“After we receive the approval of Mr President tonight or tomorrow (Monday) morning, we will now know which (other) segment of the economy is allowed to open,” Mustapha said.