The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said Nigeria did not ask Madagascar to send samples of COVID-Organics, its self-acclaimed cure for the novel coronavirus disease.
Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, made the clarification at the daily press briefing of the task force in Abuja on Thursday.
Mustapha, who doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), had on Monday announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the PTF to pick up and test samples of COVID-Organics, a remedy made from a plant, Artemisia Annua, which is used for malaria drugs.
However, the SGF said he is disturbed by comments in the media that the Federal Government decided to patronise a foreign remedy rather than encourage and promote home-grown solutions.
He noted that contrary to speculations, Madagascar donated some samples of the plant-based remedy to Nigeria and other African countries in the spirit of African brotherhood.
He explained that the consignment of the Madagascar remedy for West Africa was taken to Guinea-Bissau, from where Nigeria will make arrangements to convey the products to the country.
Mustapha said: “The issue of Madagascar. Let me explain that Nigeria did not ask Madagascar for any solution. That has to be very clear because I have seen some narratives out there giving credence to a line of story.
“That, for me, is only distractive. Nigeria did not ask. The Madagascan government decided to airlift quantities meant for African countries and so that of West Africa was airlifted to Guinea-Bissau. So, all the members of ECOWAS have their commodities off-loaded in Guinea-Bissau and that was the one I referred to, that we were making arrangements to evacuate.
“But the impression out there was as if we abandoned homegrown solutions and were looking for Madagascan solution. We did not ask for it, but it was taken in the spirit of brotherly love, or African brotherly love.
“We have asked our ambassador there to establish the location, the quantity etc. He has done that. We have to make an arrangement for its freighting out of Guinea-Bissau. There are no flights, so there are so many things we have to consider.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned countries against adopting the product, which it said has not been “taken through tests to see its efficacy”.
Mustapha also expressed displeasure with the conduct of some of the Nigerians recently evacuated from the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
According to the PTF Chairman, some of the returnees are inviting their family and friends to visit them at their mandatory quarantine centres, thereby risking a potential expansion of the COVID-19 disease.
He said: “The PTF reported the progress made with the evacuation of some Nigerians from the UAE, UK and USA. We also informed you about the mandatory quarantine protocol. Nigerians have in recent days been served with different audio-visual clips by some of these returnees.
“The PTF is saddened by the conduct of some of the returnees who fail to adhere to the conditions attached to their quarantine. I strongly urge them to obey the rules in the facilities and also urge their friends and relations to recognize the contagious nature of the disease by desisting from visiting them. Complying is in the interest of the visiting relation and in the overall public interest.”
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