President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, told state governors not to take the raging COVID-19 pandemic as a joke.
He asked them to step up enlightenment of their people on the seriousness of the infection by ensuring they stayed safe.
Buhari also called on the governors to work closely with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to streamline the measures targeted at containing the spread.
The President made the call during a virtual meeting he held with the governors.
While he participated in the meeting via a video conference from the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, led his colleagues to join from other locations.
The President stated that having received a briefing from the PTF’s Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, he had directed that both sides worked closely.
“I have directed that they work very closely with the governors”, he said, adding, “We have to be very careful. We need to continue to educate and persuade the people to accept the reality of the situation, and do all that is necessary to stay safe.”
Buhari told the governors that the pandemic was “beyond technology, power, and resources.”
The President noted that big countries with huge resources were overwhelmed by the pandemic, an indication that small countries like Nigeria must take precautionary measures more seriously.
“The meeting also discussed economic and security issues, among others, with the governors commending the President on the ‘leadership and direction’ he has given the country in combating COVID-19”, Buhari’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, stated.
Recall that some state governors had lifted the lockdown in their domains, allowing for religious activities to take place in mosques and churches.
They had also called back civil servants to work and are said to be preparing to reopen schools.
WE4WE REPORTS observes that these steps taken by some of the states go contrary to the guidelines of the PTF on the current relaxed lockdown of Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory and Ogun State.
Buhari had approved the relaxed lockdown to take effect from May 4, allowing for limited resumption of intra-state activities across the Federation.
The use of face masks was made compulsory, among others.
However, he placed a ban on inter-state movements and imposed a curfew from 8pm to 6am nationwide.
But, the regulations have been largely observed more in breach by the states.
The PTF, during a meeting with Buhari on Sunday, lodged the complaints to the President.