The Senate President of Nigeria, Ahmed Lawan, has stated that the country is very lucky and fortunate to have only counted 3 cases of the pandemic coronavirus as compared to other countries. However, he urged that “we shouldn’t push our luck too far.”
Lawan made the statement during Tuesday’s plenary session following a motion introduced by Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central) through Order 43 of Senate standing rule. Senator Oloriegbe drew the attention of the Senate as he noted that there was a need to be more serious and put out more machinery on ground to combat the coronavirus.
In support of the motion, the senators decried the country’s inadequate preparation for the coronavirus epidemic.
He said, “We should be very observant of all those regulations the technical experts give us. There is a need for the federal government to do a little more, especially in the area of testing centres. The entire north and south-east have no testing centres and it shouldn’t be so.”
The lawmakers expressed dismay that there were no testing centres for the whole of the North and the South-East regions in the country.
The president of the Senate noted that the federal government is supposed to do that, while expressing its readiness to support the federal government’s financial request to tackle the situation.
He also suggested that efforts should be made to upgrade to standard the established centres.
“Also, for isolation centres, the state governments are building, the ministry of health should come out with a standard which will be replicated in all the states. So we need to through our committees, ensure we work with the ministry of health to work with the states to ensure the isolation centres are standardised,” Lawan said.
In his submission, Oloriegbe said: “God has been very kind to Nigeria in view of the massive and devastating effects of Corona Virus globally. But we don’t need to take anything for granted.”
He therefore advised that “Nigerians need to increase the observance of the prevention control practices including avoidance of shaking of hands,” while suggesting that Nigeria should also consider disallowing non-Nigerians from countries of high risk from entering the country.
The government should also increase capacity about checking airports.
“Currently we have only five centres where testing can be done, the government has to step up the testing capacity, and provide support for state governments,” he said.
He also urged that people should not travel to countries with a high risk of the cases especially in Europe where many countries are affected, unless such trips are very important.