The President made the commendation in a broadcast over the Coronavirus pandemic in Abuja on Sunday.

President Buhari particularly noted the patriotic efforts of Ihekweazu when he attended a meeting organised by World Health organisation (WHO) in China amid the ravaging Coronavirus disease in that country.

He said: ”Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach.

”I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.

”Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized.”

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The president urged all Nigerians to support the work the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC had been doing, led by the Presidential Task Force to check the spread of the deadly virus across the country.

He noted that although the Federal Government had adopted strategies used globally, the implementation programs had been tailored to reflect local realities.

In the photo: President Muhammadu Buhari; the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, and the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire. [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]
In the photo: President Muhammadu Buhari; the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, and the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire. [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

In Nigeria, we are taking a two step approach; First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with hope and peace of mind.

”To date, we have introduced healthcare measures, border security, fiscal and monetary policies in our response. We shall continue to do so as the situation unfolds,” he added.

President Buhari, however, observed that some of these measures would surely cause major inconveniences to many citizens, saying ”these are sacrifices we should all be willing and ready to make for the greater good of our country”.

According to him, in Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or an under reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.

He said that government would continue to rely on guidance of its medical professionals and experts at the Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant agencies through this difficult time.

He, therefore, urged all citizens to adhere to their guidelines as they are released from time to time.

”As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.

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”This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.

”We also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change. This strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.

”Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately,” he said.

President Buhari expressed appreciation to the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as the nation development partners towards addressing the menace of the Coronavirus in the country.

He, therefore, requested that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending.

According to the President, the Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.

”I want to assure you all that Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a role to play in the outbreak response are working hard to bring this virus under control.

”Every nation in the world is challenged at this time. But we have seen countries where citizens have come together to reduce the spread of the virus.”

President Buhari, therefore, implored all citizens to strictly comply with the guidelines issued and they should also do their bit to support government and the most vulnerable in their respective communities.

He thanked all the public health workforce, health care workers, port health authorities and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment, saying: ”You are true heroes.”