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Nigerian Senate may approve funds for coronavirus fight

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Nigeria Senate on Tuesday expressed readiness to approve funds for the federal government to tackle coronavirus if a request is made.

The Senators during Tuesday’s plenary decried the country’s inadequate preparation for the coronavirus epidemic and submitted that Nigeria was pushing her luck too far.

The lawmakers expressed dismay that there were no testing centres for the whole of the North and the South-East regions in the country.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, urged the Federal government to do more in terms of preparations as the Senate is ready to offer support.

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“We are very lucky and fortunate, but we shouldn’t push our luck too far. 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,” Lawan said.

“The federal government is supposed to do that, and we are prepared to support the federal government’s request is for money. Even for those established, we want to suggest that we continue to upgrade the standards.

“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.

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Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), who introduced the motion through Order 43 of Senate standing rule, drew the attention of the Senate to the fact that there was a need to be more serious and put out more machinery on ground to combat the coronavirus.

“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,” Oloriegbe said.

Oloriegbe advised that “Nigerians need to increase the observance of the prevention control practices including avoidance of shaking of hands.

“If it is possible, people should not travel to countries with high risk of the cases especially in Europe where many countries are affected, unless such trips are very important.

He suggested 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.”


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