President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday gave the approval for the transitioning of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) to Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) with effect from April 1 and would function up till December 31, 2021.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mustapha revealed this at a press briefing on Tuesday in Abuja.
Going further, SGF explained that the PSC would operate with a modified mandate to reflect the non-emergent status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the current phase of the national response closes, he warned that a critical and challenging phase might be looming, considering the ongoing developments around the world.
He also announced that Nigeria has taken delivery of an additional 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the government of India.
According to Mustapha, this donation of the latest batch of vaccine doses would boost the number of Nigerians to be vaccinated by about 50,000.
Mustapha disclosed that Dr Mukhtar Muhammad, who had functioned as National Incident Manager (NIM) of the PTF, will officially take over the office of the National Coordinator from Dr Sani Aliyu, who has returned to the United Kingdom (UK) to resume his private practice.
The approval for the transitioning of the PTF to PSC follows the expiration of the extension of the mandate of the task force by the President.
The President had received the end-of-year report of the PTF on December 22, 2020, after which he extended its mandate until the end of March 2021, bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases and the bid for vaccines at the time.
He had directed the task force to coordinate the process for planning and the strategy for accessing, delivery, and the administration of vaccines using the existing health structures that have worked in the past in vaccine administration in the country.
President Buhari had also asked the PTF to engage with authorities in various states to assume full ownership of that stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.
The task force was equally authorised, along with the Nigeria Immigration Service, to ensure that all in-bound passengers who failed to show up for the post-arrival COVID-19 test were sanctioned within the ambit of the law, for breaching the public health protocols.