By Okeke Jane
The Civil Society Situation Room on COVID-19 has called on citizens to cooperate with the government in order to maximize the gains of the responses towards tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, the Coordinator, Civil Society Situation Room on COVID-19, Comrade Adams Otakwu disclosed that the declaration of COVID-19 a pandemic necessitated the establishment of the COVID-19 Situation Room.
He revealed that the aim is to assess, evaluate and report to government, public and private responses and to mobilize community, national and international civil solidarity to defeat the pandemic.
Atakwu who noted that the entire world is under an ambush by the COVID-19 pandemic, said that this is not time for needless controversies and baseless oppositions and attacks on government and parliament.
He noted,”We consider such acts as unnecessary, contemptuous, misplaced, irresponsible and desperate quest to undermine and marginalize the value of national responses as well as the collective determination of the global collaborative community to surmount the pandemic.
“Such cynical matrix must be discontinued at this moment that humanity is caught up in a vicious warfare with an invincible army.
“We to reiterate that the entire world is under an ambush and every stage of the outbreak and response is a learning curve.
“It is therefore no time to trade blames, but for citizens to cooperate with government in order to maximize the gains of the responses.
“Going forward, we call on health experts to come aboard the response ship.”
He urged the Nigerian government to continue to pay more attention to the health sector, while also urging the PTF to work further closely with civil societies for greater community engagements to mitigate community transmission and coordinate more effective community based responses.
Atakwu disclosed that the NCDC has expanded its capacity to execute 2500 tests per day, but revealed that testing has been a major challenge even to the most developed countries, an average cost of $20 per test as exclusive cost for reagents aside manpower and other logistics.
According to him, the COVID Situation Room appreciate freedom of expression in a democracy, but cautioned that such should be factual and well guided especially at such a time of global anxiety.
He revealed that the PTF has not awarded any contracts and that all funds donated towards COVID-19 response bare either paid into CBN or to accounts in commercial banks.
Atakwu said that all procurements and spending are made through the structures of the organs that make up the PTF depending on the nature of work to be executed.
He also revealed that the #850b loan is not a fresh loan request by the President to the Senate as is being insinuated, adding that the fund had been approved long ago in the 2020 appropriation act as part of borrowing to fund the budget deficit.
“The loan was to be sourced from external capital markets, but due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the global economy, the President approached the Senate to source the fund from domestic capital markets.
“In this circumstances, it would not be rational for the Senate to withhold accent, and hence the Senate leadership cannot be accused of collusion or being a rubber stamp as alluded,” he said.
Atakwu stressed that government following the ease on the restriction, us enforcing compliance with guidelines and has expressed readiness to prosecute offenders of face mask usage and other guidelines.
He further said that government has also expressed intolerance for any indiscipline and human right abuses by security agents.