It is not yet the ‘appropriate’ time for President Muhammadu Buhari to adress Nigerians on the coronavirus pandemic, the information minister, Lai Mohammed, suggested on Wednesday.
Mr Mohammed told journalists that Mr Buhari will address the nation at the appropriate time.
“When it is appropriate, Mr President will address the nation,” he said. “But, I think what you want to hear from Mr President are the kind of things we are telling you.
“This is not to preempt or second guess Mr President, I think he will do the needful,” Mr Mohammed said at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday.
The FEC meeting was presided by Mr Buhari.
Following the confirmation of new cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19), Nigerians have been calling on the president to address the nation.
Many Nigerians have taken to social media to demand that the president address the country on the coronavirus and the country’s level of preparedness.
“Is @NGRPresident @MBuhari in hiding? What kind of morbid silence is this from the leader of a country that is experiencing a ratcheting up of health crisis? @NigeriaGov put the President in front of cameras to speak to his Citizens NOW. Leadership is not personal comfort,” a former minister Oby Ezekwesili wrote on Twitter.
“I asked again.. Do Nigerians have a president?… If yes.. Do other nations remind their president to talk in situations like this?.. Let not keep calling on what is not existing,” another Nigerian, MJ, wrote on Twitter.
The Senate also passed a resolution Wednesday calling on Mr Buhari to address the nation.
In many countries of the world, such as the U.S., UK, France, Italy, Ghana and South Africa, leaders are addressing their citizens and assuring them of efforts to limit the impact of the coronavirus.
Nigeria has recorded eight cases as of Wednesday afternoon. A six-weeks-old baby is among the latest case.
No one has died of the virus in Nigeria, where reported cases are lower in comparison to South Africa with 116 confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning.
However, more cases might be expected from the country as contact tracing has been intensified to get the people who have been in contact with the confirmed cases.
As of Thursday, the World Health Organization said Africa has recorded 17 deaths in the last 24 hours.
While Africa was among the last continent to report cases of the virus, cases are beginning to spread throughout the continent as 33 countries have reported at least a case of the disease.
The UN health agency said so far, there have been 633 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 33 African countries leading to 17 deaths.
Meanwhile, in the past 24 hours, the Gambia, Mauritius and Zambia have announced first cases.
Amidst public pressure, the Buhari administration announced restrictions on countries with more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus.
The countries include China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland.
The administration has also raised a task force on the virus that would give updates and recommend policy directives on containing the virus.
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