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Coalition slams governors relaxing restriction

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PGF wants govs, others to oversee palliatives distribution

Governors who have relaxed the lockdowns in the states have been called to reverse such directives pending the advice of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health.

The call, which came via a statement from the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), expressed sadness over the decision of some governors to lift the ban they earlier imposed on their states to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The statement which was jointly signed by Mike Egboh and Dr. Chizoba Wonodi (HSRC COVID-19 Response Task Team Co-chairs) and made available to The Guardian yesterday, in Jalingo, read in part, “The lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun states, and similar decision by some governors across the country was a welcome development. It is important for containing the spread of COVID-19, avoiding the high number of deaths that might follow and the disastrous effect on the health system and economy, as we are seeing with countries like the United States of America (USA), Italy, Spain, United Kingdom (UK) among others.”

Sad that some governors have gone as far as relaxing the lockdown, thereby encouraging large gatherings in their states, the group said it “recognises and respects the importance of worship and religious celebrations to us Nigerians. Unfortunately, options are limited for now in the best ways to fight the spread.”

Meanwhile, the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has canvassed the inclusiveness of critical stakeholders in the distribution of palliatives to the needy in the country.

The Director General, Dr. Salihu Lukman, in a statement entitled ‘Fight against Spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria: Issues and Factors Hindering Success’, noted that suspicion around issues of resource management and disbursement remained a strong factor militating against citizens’ obedience of government’s initiative to curb the disease in the country.

Lukman enjoined the COVID 19 Presidential Task Force to strengthen his team by including governors, lawmakers, as well as traditional, religious and political leaders.

Others he wants in the team including labour leaders, civil society, women groups, and persons living with disabilities (PWDs).

The National Assembly had queried the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk, on the management of the palliatives. In particular, there was the question of the database being used to disburse the conditional cash transfer of N20,000 to qualified beneficiaries.

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