By Egena Sunday Ode, Abuja
The Presidency Wednesday explained why the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting has been suspended indefinitely. It said FEC had to be put on hold in the meantime in view of the usually large attendance at the meeting.
The suspension of FEC and the scheduled meeting of the National Council of State were among drastic measures announced last week by yhe government to curb and contain the spread of coronavirus code named COVID -19.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, told newsmen that the meeting was canceled due to the number of those that attend the meeting which exceeds the recommended number prescribed in efforts to control the deadly virus.
He said: “The Council was suspended because of the size. You have over 50 people seated in the Council Chambers whenever the meeting holds and that is not advisable at a time like this.
“But if there would be a very important decision to be taken, you can always summon the relevant people, three, four or five and hold a small meeting and arrive at a decision.
“It does not mean that one man is going to be taking all the decisions. Of course yes there are executive decisions but the ones that must pass through consultations of which must have a buy in of the federal executive council can always be discussed at a smaller meeting.”
Adesina explained further that the federal seat of power is only experiencing partial lockdown like other institutions in the country. He said: “Well, things are a bit on a low key, it doesn’t mean that the State House is shut down, it’s just that things are a bit on the low key just like the rest of the country. The rest of the country is also on a low key, there is partial lockdown in most parts of the country. So, what is happening at the State House can also be called a partial lockdown but not a complete lockdown.”
The Presidential Spokesman while confirming that President Buhari was tested for COVID-19 noted that the outcome of the result calls for rejoicing.
Buhari reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 despite the fact that his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who is said to have had close contact with him after his recent trip to Germany and Egypt is down with the virus.
Adesina also explained that the cutting down of media presence at the Presidential Villa announced on Tuesday was in compliance with the directive by the Federal Capital Territory authorities to discourage large gathering of people in the meantime.
“What happened is that in the press gallery you have about 108 journalists in that single hall and it goes contrary to the spirit of the times. The times dictates that you don’t have too many people congregated in one place. Imagine 108 journalists if one of them happens to catch the virus, he spreads it among all the journalists. So we said for now let them stay away, not much is happening for now. But we picked a certain number, representative of the media, they will come in, if there is anything they will cover and those outside will also not miss because they would be a system in which they can share reports. So band will be a wrong word, it will be operating from a mindset of conspiracy and there is no conspiracy here at all,” he said.