Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
NIGERIANS in United States of America, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who had served their jail terms, pardoned and paroled, are to be repatriated back home soon.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on (COVID-19) Control Boss Mustapha, said on Monday.
According to him, the anticipated repatriation is different from airlift of stranded Nigerians in different parts of the world. The regular evacuation of stranded Nigerians, he said, would end on August 22.
“A number of countries have signified intention to repatriate Nigerians convicted, pardoned and paroled. They include the UAE, Egypt and the United States of America.
“Coming in the midst of our National Response to COVID 19, all relevant agencies of government are taking multi-sectoral steps to ensure that the process remain within acceptable international protocols and in line with bilateral agreements.
“For the purpose of clarity, this should be distinguished from normal evacuation flights and we wish to state that all evacuation flights will end on 22nd August 2020 after which Airports will be given sufficient time to prepare for reopening”, he said.
He noted that Nigeria is gradually inching towards the 50,000 mark of confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a total number of confirmed cases standing at 49,098 as at Sunday.
The SGF said that the PTF has continued to observe the noticeable decline in fatalities, high discharge rates and consistent under 500 daily cases for the past four weeks in spite of the huge jump in testing capacity and the increase in the number of daily tests.
He reminded Nigerians that the country have not attained the desired level that will enable it make a categorical statement on the rate of infection in the country.
He urged Nigerians to continue to do what will further improve the nation’s record and desist from actions capable of undermining the successes.
Mustapha said: “The world had its highest daily increase of 294,237 confirmed cases yesterday, bringing the total to 22.4million, with a cumulative death of 771,000.
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“These statistics are daily reminders that humanity is still endangered by this virus. We are also reminded that the countries that appeared to have overcome the pandemic are actually being forced to re-introduce even stricter containment measures.”
He commended the state and local government areas for their efforts at advancing the Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategy, expressing the PTF’s delight to note that their ownership of the strategy has manifested in many states establishing sample collection centres in all their local government areas, while those that are yet to do so are also working on it.
“Similarly, the establishment of treatment centres, which is contributing to the high number of discharge cases and reduced fatality, in most local government areas is worth commending.
“We are fully in the community spread phase and one of the major measures we can take is to keep testing to detect, detect and treat”, he said.
He said Nigeria should not lower its guard and that people should also improve their compliance to the existing protocols at all levels.
Mustapha said: “Today (Thursday), the Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE) examinations commenced all over the country, like in other West African States, and the PTF is happy to note the high level of compliance with the protocols for the re-opening of exit classes.
“It is in this light that we appreciate the call by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for the reopening of tertiary institutions.
“As a listening government, we wish to state that education is topmost on the priority list and the reopening of our institutions remain critical, within set safety parameters.”