By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Thursday solicited the support of traditional rulers in the prevention of community spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
The task force, at a meeting with the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC) on National Primary Health in Abuja, said the royal fathers are key to engaging the people to keep safe from the spread of the pandemic.
The Chairman of the Task Force and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, underscored the need for a collaboration with the traditional ruler to stop the growing community transmission of the pandemic.
The chairman who was represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, highlighted the contributions of the royal fathers toward the certification of Nigeria as a polio free country.
“We are aware of the need to engage our people to keep safe and prevent themselves from COVID-19 infection.
“I am also aware of the immense contributions of the NTLC and particularly your commitment to the polio eradication initiatives through which we are able to achieve a polio free status.
“It is for this reason that the PTF seek to deepen this collaboration with the committee in order to further accelerate our efforts to engage our communities to stop the prevailing transmission of the pandemic,” he said.
The chairman noted that stopping community transmission is very critical to the complete opening of the economy especially those in the informal sector who depend on daily pay for thei survival .
He commended the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on polio eradication and championing the collaboration.
Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said COVID-19 is one of the most easily transmitted diseases in the world judging by speed at which it spread across the world.
He said the PTF has conducted about half a million COVID-19 test out of the two million set target with over 55,000 positive cases and 1000 fatality.
He noted that the country has made effort to flatten the curve of fatality but the stage of community spreading is worrisome.
The minister said that as the virus is penetrating the community, the support of the traditional institution is key on enlightenment to stop the spread.
The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar III, pledged the commitment of the traditional leaders to prevent community transmission of the pandemic.
“Our motivating factor is based on the serious consideration of health and well being of our people.
“The partnership is imperative especially after the successful fight against polio and be rest assured that we will give our total support to this course,” he said.
The Sultan noted that it is a Herculean task to convince the people who erroneously believed that COVID-19 is a disease only for the rich but they would continue to live by example.
The monarch who is the patron of the NTLC, requested logistic support, palliative to the people and the need to carry their counterparts in the Southern part of the country along in the fight .
Earlier, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, made a presentation on the efforts of the Emirs in the sensitisation of their people to danger of the pandemic and its prevention.