Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola had said the Federal Government must have disappointed experts who predicted that the Giant of Africa and other African countries would collapse as a result of the world-economy-crumbling COVID-19.
Aregbesola made this assertion while delivering the Third Annual Lecture of the Faculty of Arts, Ekiti University, Ado Ekiti, titled, “COVID-19: The Economy and Security” in Ado Ekiti, a statement made on Monday by the Director of Press, Ministry of Interior, Mrs Blessing Lere-Adams said.According to the statement, Aregbesola stated that the enforcement of non-pharmaceutical policies of lockdown, isolation, stopping inter-state movements, maintaining social distance, wearing of face-masks and aggressive public enlightenment, proved to be effective in significantly halting the spread of the disease.
“The pandemic hit us but the government was able to mitigate the consequences. It also brought out the capacity of Nigerians for resilience in the face of adversity, and human kindness in the way a lot of our compatriots demonstrated generosity to the less privileged in our midst. The Federal Government empanelled the Presidential Task Force which immediately swung into action, coordinating with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health, to respond positively to the occasion, including holding daily national televised briefing”, he reportedly said.The Minister further added that the fatalities recorded, though much regretted, could have been worse, in the light of projections by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) that Nigeria, among some other developing countries, would suffer heavy casualties from the disease, adding that Bill Gates was later reported to have heaved a sigh of relief that his prediction of mass casualties was falsified.
Aregbesola, however, commended the scientists and others in the health sector for properly managing the pandemic and also developing a vaccine in record time to assist humanity. He subsequently urged Nigerians to go out en masse to be vaccinated at the various vaccination centres across the country. He further applauded the efforts of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) for the tremendous work done to assist government and Nigerians in militating against the effect of the Pandemic.Speaking on the government’s action plan, Aregbesola recalled that in April 2020, the Federal Government commenced the transfer of N20,000 to poor and vulnerable households registered in the National Social Register (NSR). “The NSR was increased from 2.6 million households about 11 million people to 3.6 million households during the COVID-19 crisis. In the same month, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development began the provision of food rations to vulnerable households in the four states put under lockdown”, he said.
He further stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria, taking proactive measures, pledged to pump N1.1 trillion into critical sectors of the economy. “The Federal Government commenced a three-month repayment moratorium on all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans. These beneficiaries could not have been in good positions to repay the interest-free loans they collected when the economy was being shut down and the streets empty”, he added. He also explained that as a result of government’s stimulus package, 1.3 million jobs were saved while close to one million new jobs were created through the Economic Sustainability Plan anchored by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.TRENDING VIDEO OF THE DAY: Rapper Bia Doesn’t Know What Wizkid, Davido And Burna Boy Look Like Photos Credit: Getty