Ease Of Lockdown Over COVID-19: Chaotic Scenes At Banks Unacceptable – Boss Mustapha

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Condemnation has trailed the chaotic scenes recorded at some banks and other financial institutions in some states of the federation on the first day the ease of lockdown took effect.

The Federal Government which had been at a cross road over the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus had relaxed the lockdown earlier imposed on Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on May 4th as part of measures to control the spread of the virus.

Despite its concerns for the health and wellbeing of the citizens, the government was also under pressure to partially open up the economy, especially with the drop in prices of oil at the international market.

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, condemned the observed breaches, on Monday, at the daily briefing session in Abuja.

According to the PTF chairman, the danger of the Coronavirus infection was not over and that individual actions will contribute to the success or failure of measures put in place to control it from escalating.

“The PTF has been monitoring the level of compliance with some of the measures and early observations showed lack of compliance with social distancing and wearing of masks. We note particularly the chaotic scenes around the banks and other financial institutions.

“As we journey into this new phase of measures, it is imperative that I re-iterate the importance of adherence to the guidelines more so that preliminary reports indicate that there is observable high level of breaches by the citizenry.

“We must reiterate that the danger of infection is not over and that individual actions will contribute to the success or failure of our measures. We urge citizens to minimize the risk of getting infected while trying to transact in the banks. We similarly urge the banks to ensure that their ATMs and online banking systems are in good order and stocked regularly to avoid convergence of customers in their premises.

“The PTF fully understands the desire of Nigerians to come out to continue their lives after five weeks of lockdown, “he noted.

Condemnation has trailed the chaotic scenes recorded at some banks and other financial institutions in some states of the federation on the first day the ease of lockdown took effect.

The Federal Government which had been at a cross road over the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus had relaxed the lockdown earlier imposed on Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on May 4th as part of measures to control the spread of the virus.

Despite its concerns for the health and wellbeing of the citizens, the government was also under pressure to partially open up the economy, especially with the drop in prices of oil at the international market.

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, condemned the observed breaches, on Monday, at the daily briefing session in Abuja.

According to the PTF chairman, the danger of the Coronavirus infection was not over and that individual actions will contribute to the success or failure of measures put in place to control it from escalating.

“The PTF has been monitoring the level of compliance with some of the measures and early observations showed lack of compliance with social distancing and wearing of masks. We note particularly the chaotic scenes around the banks and other financial institutions.

“As we journey into this new phase of measures, it is imperative that I re-iterate the importance of adherence to the guidelines more so that preliminary reports indicate that there is observable high level of breaches by the citizenry.

“We must reiterate that the danger of infection is not over and that individual actions will contribute to the success or failure of our measures. We urge citizens to minimize the risk of getting infected while trying to transact in the banks. We similarly urge the banks to ensure that their ATMs and online banking systems are in good order and stocked regularly to avoid convergence of customers in their premises.

“The PTF fully understands the desire of Nigerians to come out to continue their lives after five weeks of lockdown, “he noted.

Recall that mixed feelings had trailed the decision of the federal government to ease the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, despite the escalation of the infectious rate.

Some Nigerians had argued that it would be counter productive for the country, owing to its weak health care structures and poor response to national emergencies.

The condemnation is also trailed by rising cases of infections in Lagos, Kano and the FCT, where many are alleged to be ignoring the social distancing policy.

Mustapha said even though the lockdown was being relaxed in phases, it was not compulsory for Nigerians to be moving all about when they don’t have pressing needs to meet.

He warned that the security agencies have been mandated to enforce the easing off measures and those not permitted to move freely for now would be dealt with approximately.

He said, “States Governments and Security agencies have however, been advised to enforce the measures rigidly and violators will be prosecuted. Let me remind you, once more, that this easing up is in phases and those who are permitted to open have clearly been defined.

“Our admonition to Nigerians is that it is still desirable to stay at home if there is no compelling reason to go out and to comply with the measures always, whether at home or not.

“The PTF has also received reports on the level of compliance with the nationwide ban on inter-state movement. The objective of the ban is to slow down the spread of virus across state boundaries. The determination of government to enforce this policy is not in doubt and as we progress, we believe that proper alignment with the directives of Mr. President would be pursued”.

​On the situation in Kano State, the SGF said the teams dispatched from Abuja have continued to work with the State Structure and appreciable achievements have been recorded in improving manpower support, deploying appropriate equipment, increased testing capacity and treatment centres.

He explained that efforts are also on-going to upscale the training of medical personnel in the Kano and neighboring States on the management of infectious diseases and to provide them with PPEs for protection.

He reiterated that private hospitals have also been advised to seek accreditation before taking up the management of infectious diseases.

The PTF chairman said collaboration with the Kano State Government still remains focused on strengthening their existing structures, especially for sustainability.

“The results coming out from the state is a comforting indication that efforts put in place, which are being strengthened, would yield expected results, “he stated.

He said the PTF has also received reports about medical facilities and doctors turning back sick patients for fear of their illnesses being COVID-19 related.

His words,” the PTF appeals to these facilities especially public hospitals not to neglect treatment of other ailments because such actions have resulted in avoidable deaths. The Honourable Minister of Health will engage the management of our tertiary health institutions to address this”.

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