By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Nigerian scientists and researchers to come up with solutions to cure COVID-19 as humanity and democracy is under threat of the pandemic.
The president gave the challenge in a nationwide broadcast to commemorate 2020 Democracy Day in Abuja on Friday.
He, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria would survive the pandemic like similar crises in the past where the country emerged much more stronger.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had on June 11 announced on its official Twitter handle that Nigeria recorded a total of 14,554 cases.
The centre also revealed that Nigeria recorded its highest daily toll on Thursday with 681 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in 17 states.
Buhari, however, expressed optimism that the steps being taken by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had started showing fruitful results.
“I therefore implored 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 nationwide public healthcare system that will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for any future outbreak.
“Already, we have begun to look inward and I charge our inventors, researchers and scientists to come up with solutions to cure COVID-19,’’ he said.
The president noted that the pandemic had affected the global economy and all known socio-economic systems as well as brought grief and pains to families that had lost their loved ones
Buhari, however, announced that his administration had put in place various measures to cushion the negative effects of the pandemic on Nigerians and the nation economy.
According to him, the impact of the pandemic has disrupted the nation economic system.
“And to ensure it functions 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 strategies to create jobs in reducing the effects of COVID-19 on our youths, I directed the employment of 774,000 of Nigerians.
“These youths would be engaged in sufficient public work programmes aimed at cushioning the effects of economic downturn.
“Each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country will be allotted 1,000 slots.
“I am pleased to report that this programme has commenced,’’ he revealed.