The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) has expressed concern over the vandalisation of warehouses housing COVID-19 palliatives across the country.
Several warehouses have been attacked by looters in recent days, with many carting away stored food items.
Speaking at the PTF’s National Briefing on Monday, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the task force, Boss Mustapha, clarified how the Federal Government Palliatives were shared.
He also lamented the hijack of the #EndSARS protest against police brutality which degenerated into violence, destruction of properties and looting.
“At the last national briefing held on Monday, 19th October, 2020, the PTF appealed to the youths of our nation to embrace the offer of dialogue and leave the streets so that government could address their concerns in a sustainable manner,” Mustapha said.
“In the intervening period, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria also addressed the nation and assured that their voices have been heard loud and clear and that government was responding.
“Unfortunately, the protests have been hijacked by other tendencies that have inflicted great economic costs through arson, looting of warehouses, invasion of private homes, shopping malls, jail breaks and generally engaging in wanton destruction under the disguise of the protests.
“Of particular concern to the PTF, is the issue of palliatives found and looted from various warehouses around the country. It is important to make the following clarifications. The Federal Government Palliatives consisted largely of the 70MT of grains released from the Strategic Grain Reserves as well as rice secured from the Nigerian Customs Service. The share for each State were handed over to the State Governments for onward distribution to the citizens.
“The private sector coalition (CACOVID) that has been quite supportive of the Federal Government, worked with the States through the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to determine the quantum of their intervention, which was intended to be effective and equitable. A number of indices were worked out for this purpose.”
The task force chairman appealed to all Nigerians to remain law abiding and collaborate with law enforcement agencies to restore normalcy across the country.
“Humanity has been traumatized by COVID-19. Our nation is not experiencing a second wave but has been impacted negatively by the looting and arson,” he said.
Mustapha also provided updates on the situation of the pandemic in Africa and globally.
“The global pandemic situation has continued to escalate. The cumulative number of infections has crossed the 43 million mark. The United States of America, Europe and India continue to post high numbers due to the resurgence,” he said.
“The global fatality count has also reached a cumulative number of 1,158,810. The Case Fatality Ratio has however declined gradually to 2.7%. It is important to note that in the last twenty-hours, 4,498 deaths were reported from 96 countries and territories worldwide, with Europe (France, Italy, and UK) accounting for accounting for 30% (1,358 deaths).
“The African continent has recorded a cumulative total case count of 1,727,887 including 41,323 deaths (CFR 2.4%). Nigeria maintains the 5th position in highest cumulative cases after South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Ethiopia.”
The SGF added that there have been positive developments in the discussions with European Union (EU) Ambassadors on the resumption of flights by European airliners.