Members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, have admitted to “unintentional violation of the principles and protocols” of the coronavirus lockdown
during the burial rites of Abba Kyari, the late chief of staff (CoS) to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking at the PTF briefing on Monday, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the committee regrets the ‘unintentional violation’ of protocols at Mr Kyari’s funeral.
Mr Mustapha, who doubles as the chairman of the taskforce, also said lessons have been learnt from the situation.
“The PTF recognises, regrettably, the unintentional violation of the principles and protocols that form the core of our message to Nigerians, at the funeral of the late chief of staff.
”These principles for emphasis, include: the guidance provided on mass gatherings, social distancing, Personal Hygiene and restriction of movements.
”Lessons have been learnt and appropriate measures have been taken to close all gaps,” he said.
Mr Kyari died on Friday in Lagos following complications from COVID-19. His remains were flown to Abuja on Saturday morning where he was buried.
Though the federal government earlier announced that the funeral would be conducted in private to show compliance with the guidelines against the spread of COVID-19, a large crowd of sympathisers still thronged the burial ground to pay their last respects.
Mr Mustapha and several senior government officials and politicians we’re amongst those sighted at Gudu cemetery, where the funeral held.
Many Nigerians have however expressed their disappointment over the disregard for social distancing and other health advisories at Mr Kyari’s funeral.
Some Nigerians have also asked the Abuja Task Force to arrest and prosecute those who violated the protocols and guidelines of the NCDC at the funeral.
Already, the presidency has barred some presidential aides who attended the funeral from the Presidential Villa and has ordered they embark on self-isolation for 14 days.
Also, other attendees who participated in the burial have been identified. They will be isolated and tested as well, an official told PREMIUM TIMES.
As of Sunday evening, Nigeria has recorded 627 cases of COVID-19. Of these, 170 infected people have recovered and have been discharged while the death toll rose to 21 from 19 reported on Saturday.
Mr Mustapha urged the general public to remain focussed at a time like this.
He assured Nigerians of their safety and the determination of the PTF to combat the pandemic
”The significant increase in the number of cases and distribution across states underscore the importance of remaining focused as citizens and as a nation because of the enormity of the challenges ahead.
”This is the time for all hands to be on deck so that the PTF can improve on its delivery.
”We must all come together because we face a common enemy and potential risk. We must flatten the curve at all cost and restore our country to full activity, ” he said.
Also at Monday’s briefing, the national coordinator of the taskforce, Sani Aliyu, said necessary measures have been taken to decontaminate the Gudu cemetery where the funeral took place.
He urged the public to keep holding the government accountable for better results.
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