President Muhammadu Buhari, has warned Nigerians to beware of the
dangers of coronavirus pandemic, stressing that he has lost a close
member of his staff, relatives and friends to the deadly COVID-19.
He therefore implored all Nigerians to abide by the approved guidelines
and protocols, adding that there is hope to beat the pandemic “if we
take individual and collective responsibility.”
The President said this in his speech, to mark the nation’s new
Democracy Day, which he declared in 2018, in place of May 29, the
anniversary of the inauguration of the Fourth Republic, which since 2000
had been marked as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
Buhari noted that the pandemic has no doubt affected the global economy
and all known socio-economic systems and brought grief and pain to
families that have lost their loved ones.
He said as part of the strategy to reducing the effect of COVID-19 on
the youths, his administration is targeting to employ 774, 000
Nigerians, with each of the 774 local government areas in the country
allotted 1,000 slots to engage youths in Special Public Works programme
aimed at cushioning the effects of economic downturn.
According to him, “The impact of the pandemic has disrupted our economic
system and to ensure its functioning while still addressing the spread,
the Federal Government put in place a number of various
non-pharmaceutical measures to slow down the spread of the virus, in
addition to a progressive re-opening of the economy.
“As part of the strategy to create jobs in reducing the effect of
COVID-19 on our youths, I directed the employment of 774, 000 Nigerians.
These youths will be engaged in Special Public Works programme aimed at
cushioning the effects of economic downturn. Each of the 774 local
government areas in the country will be allotted 1,000 slots. I am
pleased to report that this programme has commenced.
“I receive regular briefing from the PTF on COVID-19. I note that the
National Response relies on Science, Data and Experience in taking
decisions. This informed my approval for the ease of lock down phase to
ensure a balance between lives and livelihoods.
“I am confident that the steps being taken by the PTF would result in
flattening the COVID-19 curve. I, therefore, implore all Nigerians to
abide by the approved guidelines and protocols. There is hope for us all
if we take individual and collective responsibility.
“Government is determined to turn this COVID-19 challenge into a
motivation to action by building a nation-wide public health care system
that will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for any
Already, we have begun to look inward and I charge our inventors,
researchers and scientists to come up with solutions to cure COVID-19.”
The President had said the change of Democracy Day was in honour of the
memory of Chief MKO Abiola, who won the June 12, 1993 presidential
election that was annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida-led military regime.
Abiola eventually died in detention on July 8, 1998, while being held for declaring himself president over the annulled poll.
Meanwhile, the President has declared that his administration has
recorded “notable achievements” in the in the course of implementing his
nine priority objectives.
He acknowledged the milestones recorded on the economic front with GDP
growing from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019. “We have witnessed eleven
quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew
from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first
quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities
due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Buhari saluted founding fathers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and
those who have toiled to sustain it, while also praising the resilience
of Nigerians, health and essential workers in the fight against COVID-19
He also appreciated the media for their doggedness in the struggle for
the attainment of democracy and for being effective watchdog of the
He said his administration’s commitment to people living with
disabilities remains unwavering, even as he promised to fight gender
based violence to a standstill. He said Nigeria has survived many crises
before and came out stronger, assuring that the country will overcome
COVID-19 crisis and emerge stronger