Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha has extoled the commitment and support of traditional rulers in the fight against the pandemic.
Mustapha spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the 2021 first quarter meeting of Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery.
He said “On behalf of the Federal Government I sincerely acknowledge and appreciate all your support and commitment which often goes unsung.”
The SGF added that “It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that COVID-19 is real and that we are currently battling with the ferocious nature of the second wave of the pandemic. In spite of the high rate of infections and fatality, the fact is that we are still not testing enough. What this means is that the figures we are having now may just be a tip of the iceberg when you also take into consideration the fact that a lot of persons are asymptomatic.”
Read the full text of his address below:
REMARKS BY BOSS MUSTAPHA, CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 AT THE 2021 FIRST QUARTER MEETING OF THE NORTHERN TRADITIONAL LEADERS COMMITTEE ON PRIMARY HEALTH CARE DELIVERY
ON THURSDAY 28TH JANUARY 2021 AT ABUJA
I am indeed honoured Your Eminence to address our distinguished Royal Fathers at this critical moment in our efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic. On behalf of the Federal Government I sincerely acknowledge and appreciate all your support and commitment which often goes unsung.
It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that COVID-19 is real and that we are currently battling with the ferocious nature of the second wave of the pandemic. In spite of the high rate of infections and fatality, the fact is that we are still not testing enough. What this means is that the figures we are having now may just be a tip of the iceberg when you also take into consideration the fact that a lot of persons are asymptomatic.
This virus is no respecter of persons. It has affected every group of persons in our society including the traditional institution. This is why we must come together as one people with one voice to use our influence to promote both the non-pharmaceutical preventive measures and vaccination. Traditional rulers are highly reverend in our society, it is important that we leverage on this divine influence to instill in our people the sense of taking responsibility for themselves and their loved ones by wearing facemasks, observing hand hygiene, physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings and unnecessary travels.
Another and more lasting layer of prevention is the availability of vaccines to enable us achieve herd immunity so that our lives can return to normal. But for us to achieve this, every eligible person must be vaccinated when it is their turn to be administered the COVID-19 vaccine. A lot of misinformation about COVID-19 is currently being circulated through various mass and traditional channels. Traditional leaders, who are custodians of the people’s culture and values, must be very discerning to guide our people aright. Please endeavour to verify any information that you cannot link to any credible source. We are all accessible to you. Please seek factual information as rumour and misinformation are very dangerous and can be fatal.
The NPHCDA, which is the Federal Government Agency with responsibility for vaccine related matters has brought together highly professional and dedicated multi sectoral team to drive the process of introducing safe and efficacious COVID-19.
Let me assure all Nigerians that the Federal Government is committed to working with all critical stakeholders including traditional leaders to defeat this deadly virus.
I therefore commend Dr Faisal Shuaib and his team at NPHCDA for facilitating this meeting. I am sure that at the end of deliberations, our traditional leaders will be empowered to respond to questions the people are asking.
I am glad to inform you that we are set to receive the first batch of the vaccine by February 2021. We have all it takes – the expertise, the human and material resources and indeed the support of our traditional leaders.
To further elucidate Mr. President’s commitment, on 26th January, 2021 he signed the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Health Protection Regulation 2021 which was necessitated considering the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
We are therefore confident that with your support and that of other well-meaning
Nigerians, we will overcome this pandemic and restore our socio-economic lives.
Your Eminence, your Highnesses, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen let us
prepare to be vaccinated but meanwhile continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical measures.
Thank you very much.