Nigeria: Don’t reopen Schools, stadium, viewing centres, PTF warns subnational govts …to evacuate 1,000 stranded Nigerians this week, …confirms arrival of 372 Nigerians from Egypt, India

Tayo Ojelabi



Nigerian Government on Monday says it is unsafe to reopen schools, television viewing centres, sport stadium considering the rising number of COVID-19 patients recorded across the country.

Mr. Boss Mustapha, PTF Chairman who issued the notice at the daily briefing held in Abuja, cautioned subnational governments to rescind such decision indefinitely.

Mr. Mustapha who doubles as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), appealed to state governments to embark on wider community testing, enforcement of rules on social distancing, stepping up community engagement and risk communication and paying attention to places of large gatherings.

“We have received reports that some states are contemplating the reopening of schools, television viewing centres, sports stadium and other places where large gatherings could take place.

“The PTF re-emphasises that it is not yet safe to do so and that utmost caution should be exercised. The PTF guideline should still be complied with while considering the decision of this nature.​”

The PTF Chairman also unveiled Federal Government’s plans to evacuate additional 1,000 Nigerians this week, confirmed that no fewer than 1,523 Nigerians have been evacuated as at June 13, 2020, including 269 Nigerians from India and 103 from Egypt who arrived at the weekend.

According to him, all the evacuees from India and Egypt who tested negative before boarding the plane would be re-tested within 72-hours of arrival in Nigeria.

While urging the security agencies on the need to strictly enforce the ban on inter-state travels as part of measures put in place to contain the spread, Mr. Mustapha frowned at the spread of the pandemic due to non-compliance to social distancing, wearing of masks in public places, sanitation and hygiene.

“This is more prevalent in markets, motor parks and some places of worship. I wish to remind you that the PTF has already issued guidelines for a mode of operations at places of worship and urge state Governments to ensure strict compliance with PTF guidelines.

“We wish to re-emphasise that all relaxed measures are still subject to review and advisories issued are for personal and public safety purposes. The breach of the ban on inter-state travels is also a point of concern.

“Over the last couple of days, you must have observed that the daily figures of confirmed cases have been on the rise. This is an indication that we are conducting more tests across the country and that we are fully in the community spread phase.

“We, however, urge Nigerians not to panic but to cooperate with public health officials especially where community testing is on-going.”