The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, on Thursday reminded states and security operatives that farmers are essential workers and should be allowed to access their farms in order to guarantee food security.
Speaking during the PTF COVID-19 briefing, Mustapha said; “You will recall that when the new measures were rolled out and published, we ensured that certain economic activities pertaining to food production and distribution were exempted.
“This, for the avoidance of doubts includes farming activities. We recognize the fact that we are in the planting season and the nation cannot afford to prevent our hardworking farmers from going to their farms.
“We, therefore, use this medium to reemphasize that farmers fall within the list of essential workers and urge State Governors, Local Government Authorities and security agencies to please allow them to carry out their activities. Our food security is critical to our national security.
“The PTF welcomes the resolution of the Nigeria Governors Forum to take steps to ramp up testing and provide the prescribed minimum number of bed spaces in their isolation/treatment centres.
“We in turn assure the States that the NCDC will continue to provide technical support and standardization guidelines. It will also continue to firmly pursue its surveillance activities nationwide.
“We urge the States to recognize the essence of a strong partnership and always allow overarching public interest to prevail”.
On the level of compliance with public safety protocols, Mustapha said a lot still needs to be done.
”I must, however, state that our initial evaluation point firmly in the direction of a high level of non-compliance which, as we have often warned, portend grave self-inflicted danger.
“This fact has made it imperative for me to re-echo our call for taking personal responsibility.”