By Rasheed Sobowale
Mr Femi Adesina, the special adviser on media and publicity to the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has disputed the claim that the president will be addressing the nation Monday on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Adesina in a tweet announcing the development stated that “none was planned” in the first place and that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in its usual briefing will update the nation on the next steps.
“No presidential broadcast on COVID-19 updates today. None was planned. Rather, the Presidential Task Force will during its usual media briefings bring the nation up to speed on the next steps,” Adesina posted on his verified Twitter page.
This, however, was in contradiction to a statement made by the national coordinator of the PTF, Aliyu Sani, who had during a Channels TV programme said President Buhari will address the nation today (Monday) on the next procedure in the containment of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sani was responding to a question on whether the PTF has a different strategy considering the flouting of the coronavirus preventive guidelines by many Nigerians since the ease of the lockdown.
Prior to Mr Sani’s assertion on Sunday, President Buhari had received briefing and recommendations from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Read Our Earlier Report: COVID-19: Buhari to unfold new procedure Monday
Such a meeting has, however, been the norm. The PTF usually briefs the president prior to his nationwide broadcast on further policies to tackle the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Speaking to journalists, the PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha who doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) had said, “Tomorrow we should expect new processes to be put in place. But we have to give him [Buhari] all the material details will help us in preparing for the future. So that is why we are here.
“I think this is about the third time that we have had cause to submit an interim report to him [Buhari] on our activities as a task force and also to update him on preparation for the other phases of engagement.
“And we have supplied him [Buhari] with all the materials that is required to look at the issues. Because, we are in for the long hurl, this is not a short distance race, is a marathon and we have to keep everything in perspective.
“But remember on the 27th of April, he addressed the nation and in place the easing down of the lockdown effective from the 4th of May. From the 4th of May to date is about 13 days.”
The Nigerian President has however directed the PTF to work in tandem with Governors according to a tweet post on his Twitter handle; “In my meeting with the Governors today, I informed them that I have directed the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to work very closely with all State Governors. To succeed in containing this pandemic we have to improve collaboration.
“I also stressed the need for extensive public education and enlightenment. We need to continue to educate and persuade Nigerians to accept the reality of the situation, and do all that is necessary to stay safe.”