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Security agents have been cautioned by the Presidential Task Force on corona virus (COVID-19) against manhandling citizens who disobey the order to stay at home over the pandemic.

Speaking at the daily media briefing of the task force in Abuja on Friday, its chairman and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, appealed to the security personnel deployed to enforce the restrictions to approach the assignment with caution.

Mustapha also appealed to Nigerians to be law-abiding and self-restraining for as long as the lockdown lasts.

The appeals came as a reaction to reports from parts of the country alleging high handedness on the part of those deployed to enforce the restrictions which were authorized by President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.

The SGF also pleaded with small business owners and retailers of essential commodities not to exploit the situation to hike the prices of their goods.

He reiterated that the current situation is not only a threat to the human race, but also to the Nigerian economy and national security.

The PTF chairman, therefore, stressed the need for all citizens to cooperate with the government in all steps being taken and obeying all instructions.

Mustapha stated: “The Federal Government has ramped up its synergy with the state governments through video-conferencing communication and the platform of the Governors Forum. By these measures, a lot of gaps are being closed for uniformity of purpose.”

The PTF finds it very necessary to appeal to our law-enforcement agencies to deploy acts and caution in the course of enforcing the rules, even in the face of provocation.

We similarly appeal to all Nigerians to be law-abiding, exercise patience and self-restraint. The message from the president is that no Nigerian should on account of these rules suffer any harm or pains during this period or at any time in our national life.

To the Nigerian traders and business men and women, we appeal for resistance to the urge to hike prices of goods and commodities, during this period as our compassionate nature must prevail. This is the best time to be considerate and to show empathy for our fellow Nigerians.

In recognition of the danger to which our frontline health workers are exposed to, the government is working with other stakeholders to structure medical and life insurance cover for their protection.

The role of the Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations in this battle is also well recognised. I however urge them to deploy their resources, especially community-based manpower to shore up the arrangements by the sub-national entities.