The Federal Government has given security agencies marching orders to ensure stricter enforcement of the COVID-19 advisories and guidelines.
The latest directive came against the backdrop of rampart violation of the guidelines by Nigerians.
“It portends a very dangerous trend,” Mr Boss Mustapha, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, saidbat Friday’s media briefing of the PTD in Abuja.
He said the decision to ensure stricter enforcement was reached at a meeting with Security Chiefs following the outcome their surveillance.
“We decided to strengthen enforcement in collaboration with the states; all exempted persons including journalists and medical personnel should always carry a verifiable and authentic means of identification.
“Security agencies should improve monitoring of their personnel and interaction with the citizenry; citizens should respect the sacrificial role of security agencies and desist from assaulting security personnel and damaging security infrastructure.
“Appropriate PPE and related protective gears will be provided for the security personnel while security agencies should always respect the fundamental rights of citizens during enforcement,” Mustapha said.
He stressed the need for increased enlightenment and awareness, adding” If need be, revisit the strategies on the basis of spatial compliance.”
On the measures taken so far, the SGF explained that the measures are not punitive but meant to save lives and prevent the spread of the virus.
“I must reiterate that the measures taken are not punitive. Rather, they are to save our lives and prevent the uncontrolled spread of the COVID -19 among our loved ones and within our communities.
“We recognize the existence of multi-faceted challenges and shall keep on emphasizing these in our daily briefings as well as through our information, education and communication media.
“The PTF urges the media and all key stakeholders to step up the roles we play in the sensitisation and awareness efforts,” he added.
According to the PTF chairman, Nigeria is presently at community transmission phase with the country witnessing the highest single day number of 381 confirmed cases on Thursday.
He also raised concerns that states were already running out of bed spaces at treatment centres.
Mustapha said: “This could be considered worrisome but for the fact that this rise is associated with our increased testing capacity, which has provided an opportunity to detect hitherto hidden cases.
“However, this increased testing does not translate to higher fatality rates as in the last few days, we have witnessed a good number of discharges and a continually reducing daily fatality rate.
“We have also received Reports from the States, which suggests that the treatment centres are running out of bed spaces.
“As we assess the situation, the PTF shall also begin to examine our peculiar circumstances, modify the strategies for care management and consider viable alternatives, where necessary. At the appropriate time, the guidelines and protocols shall be unfolded.
“The PTF is liaising with the Task Force on Movement of Agricultural Produce under the leadership of the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in order to ensure that food scarcity is not experienced in any part of the country.”
Mustapha said the collaboration was to minimize the abuse of the exemption granted for movement of goods under the guidelines.