The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has plans on phased reopening of schools, places of worships and some businesses as Nigerians begin to adapt to the lockdown regime and the containment of coronavirus.
The plans were fine tuned during a meeting with meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha told State House correspondents that the recommendations are awaiting the approval or otherwise of the President.
He acknowledged that state governments had the constitutional powers to reopen places of worships but that “we will await Mr President on that. Once I receive his approval, going forward, to certain recommendations we have put in place, we will know how that would happen.
“The issue of easing up, we had an extension of two weeks for the first phase, the second phase will come in with a lot of recommendations, which we expect Mr President to consider.
“So, the issues of places of worships, the issues of schools; the issues of some certain businesses that were not opened hitherto are part of the packages that we have looked at.
“We have made the appropriate recommendations; Mr President is the only one that can take decisions in respect of that.
“In the framework, the states are sub-nationals, they have their own responsibilities too.
“So, it is in the exercise of those responsibilities that they had meetings with those religious bodies and agreed on the guidelines and protocols on how they open up, but in the framework of the national response we are taking that into consideration.’’
On whether Nigeria is winning the fight against COVID-19, considering the rate of infections, the PTF chairman said: “We are winning. As a matter of fact, you juxtapose the rate of cases with our fatality rate, which is basically about three per cent, in other countries and other climes, it’s over 10 per cent.
“When we started this exercise, we had only five testing stations, now we’ve ramped it up to 28, without the expected increase in the number of deaths.
“We have gone beyond 60,000 now, that reflects in the number of confirmed cases.
“We have not reached the peak yet and I won’t want to fool Nigerians by telling them that we are out of the woods. No, we are not out of the woods.
“As we even open up and accommodate more enterprises, because we are trying to have a balance between livelihoods and life, there’s a likelihood of increase in transmission in cases.”
Mustapha assured that essential parts of the economy would continue opening up to boost socio-economic activities.
He said: “Essential parts of the economy was opening up by way of allowing agricultural production, people that produce fertilizers.
“The oil and gas industry was never closed for one day and some aspects of the financial sector were opened.
“After we receive Mr President’s approval, we will now know which segment of the economy he has allowed to open.”