The Federal Government has accused religious leaders of obstructing the national response in restraining the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country by holding large gatherings.
Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said this during a press conference of the PTF in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “We have observed, rather sadly, that Nigerians, particularly some faith-based organisations have continued to hold events of large gatherings capable of spreading the virus.
“The PTF urges all sub-national entities that signed the protocols with these organisations and have primary responsibility for enforcing the protocols and NPIs to step up their roles of enforcement.”
He said from the impact of COVID-19, the PTF has also continued to engage with fitting stakeholders on the issues arising from the pandemic, including mental health, drug use and gender-based violence.
Mustapha said even as vaccines are being distributed, people must continue to adhere to the public health measures.
He said, “The pandemic still has a long a way to run and decisions made by leaders and citizens in the coming days will determine the course of the next days and months; and in addition, and in line with the guidance on the use of masks, we need to discourage the practice of removing masks to speak.
The PTF Boss also revealed that the task force in the next two weeks would be submitting its final report to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
Mustapha noted that as the nation approached the end of the year, which has been important by all standards, several competing governance-related activities make it impossible for the PTF to regularly brief as it desired adding that this is not the end of the assignment as the virus has not gone away.
In conclusion, the president of the task force assured all Nigerians that the work of the PTF never stopped during such moments adding that they have continued in deepening risk communication and community engagement surveillance, testing, and pursuit of a viable strategy for accessing the vaccine in a safe and effective manner.