Nigeria’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 pandemic have risen by 381 in 24 hours, making it the highest single daily rise as the country expands active testing laboratories to 21.
Lagos the epicenter of the dreaded virus records a huge rise to 183 new cases as 10 officials of Lagos state Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu tested positive for COVID-19.
This is coming as the federal government yesterday said reports at its disposal indicted security agents for aiding the rampant violation of its ban on travels across state boundaries.
President Muhammadu Buhari, as part of series of regulations to slow down the spread of COVID-19, had imposed a nation-wide ban on inter-state travels, safe for the movement of essential goods and services.
But as the spread of the pandemic worsened across states, governors complained that security agents, who were posted to enforce the ban, were aiding its violation by unscrupulous citizens.
The virus afflicted 381 more Nigerians yesterday, raising the total confirmed cases to 3,526 with 601 persons discharged and 107 dead in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The 381 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos 183, Kano 55, Jigawa 44, Zamfara 19, Borno nine, Bauchi 19, Katsina 11, Kwara eight, Kaduna seven, Gombe six, Ogun five, Sokoto four, Oyo three, Rivers three, Niger two, Akwa Ibom one, Enugu one, and Plateau, one.
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, confirmed the governors’ allegation at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, regretting that the misconduct of the security agents was undermining the efforts to curb the pandemic.
In spite of this, he enjoined every citizen to take responsibility, saying every Nigerian should be a combatant in the ongoing war against the pandemic.
His task force unveiled fresh guidelines for the gradual opening of public and private offices, adding that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was evaluating the various claims of discoveries of curative drugs for the disease.
The federal government also said it had sent teams to Kogi and Cross River States to ensure that the states have adequate testing capacity and also to advocate for the engagement of traditional rulers and community leaders in the surveillance efforts of the two states.
The government also disclosed that the country now has 21 active laboratories nationwide, revealing that it had stopped the policy of self-isolation, especially for returnees, explaining that it had replaced it with compulsory quarantine.
Mustapha said the federal government was displeased with the role of security operatives in the mass violation of the ban on interstate movement.
He said reports received indicted some security operatives of compromise, urging the various commands of the security agencies to enhance their monitoring machinery to ensure that the virus is not spread as well as prevent the good name of the services from being tarnished.
I, however, commend the security agencies for their vigilance in apprehending and prosecuting violators. It is, worrisome, however, to note reports received about isolated cases of compromise by some security operatives. We urge the various commands of the security agencies to enhance their monitoring machinery to ensure that we do not only achieve the objective of stopping the spread of the virus but also prevent the good name of the services from being tarnished,” he said.
He implored Nigerians to alert the security agencies whenever they witnessed the violation of the guidelines.
It is important to remember that this is a war in which every Nigerian is a combatant and must resist any effort by a few individuals or groups, to endanger our collective survival,” Mustapha said.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) had lamented the laxity in the enforcement of the lockdown order by security agencies.
However, the FCT Police Command said it had commenced investigation into illegal movements in all entry points around the boundaries of the FCT and contiguous states.
Additional reports from Thisday