AS COVID-19 THREATENS THE WORLD SENATE URGES BUHARI TO ADDRESS NIGERIANS

The Senate on Wednesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to personally address Nigerians on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The upper chamber also urged the Federal Government to take more drastic precautionary measures against the spread of the disease.

The resolutions adopted by the Senate are as follows: “Senate should call on President to personally address this nation on this issue. Bigger countries are doing that. If he comes out, I think Nigeria will take this matter more seriously. I am not saying they are not doing anything,

“Federal Government to take more drastic precautionary measures should include but not limited to travel ban, outright ban of some countries, tighter border controls, restricted gathering, stringent checking of coming into the country, a compulsory Quarantine for two weeks.

“Urge the Federal Government and Nigerians to keep abreast of all the measures and development taking place worldwide

“Urge the Senate to give full support in fighting the spread of Corona Virus, a testing center should be opened in states of the Federation, prevent Foreign airlines from taking flights from high risk countries to Nigeria, shutdown all International airports except Abuja and Lagos to ensure proper testing and checks,

“Urge the Federal Government to suspend issuance of Visa on arrival.

“Federal, State, Local Governments and departments of public health to ensure that all public health requirements are properly monitored in accordance with health procedures.

“Urge Federal Government to ensure an immediate meeting of the National Council of Health to harmonise their responses to the COVID-19 and set up a special intervention fund to tackle the COVID-19.”

A recommendation for the Ministry of Agriculture to restock the nation’s silos was rejected.

The resolutions of the Senate followed a point of order moved by Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) at plenary.

In his lead debate, Goje stressed the need to put drastic measures in place to curb the spread of the disease as already done in other by other affected countries.

Goje said: “I believe that the Lagos, Ogun and Federal Governments have been able to contain this issue to large extent but we believe that is not enough.

“Big and powerful countries are taking drastic measures to contain or prevent the COVID-19 from entering their countries.

“Even in Africa, Senegal and Ghana are taking serious measures. Saudi Arabia, a religious country, does not have a single case but they have taken seious measures.

“Even in the Vatican City, they said they will celebrate Easter without full congregation. Even if we think we have three cases, this thing grows gradually. That is not enough.”

In her contribution, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, (Lagos Central), called on Nigerians to collaborate with the Government to tackle the pandemic.

Tinubu said: “We need to look at how we as Nigerians relate with each other.

“Over the years, we have been lucky and God has been very good to us.

“Remember the case of Ebola, but we cannot be too careful to leave everything to the hands of Government.

“All agencies across board should sensitise people about cleanliness.

“You see people sweating profusely and wanting to give others a hug. This is the time to take our hygiene seriously.

“We should not live in fear but go about our businesses the right way. We need prayers for this country.”

Senator George Sekibo (Rivers East) urged his colleagues not to travel out of the country while calling for the nation’s Airports and seaports to be shut.

Sekibo said: “The Ministry of Health should come up with real standards of how to behave now.

“We have a problem, our airports and sea ports are still open. We don’t have equipment and the ports are still open.

“Let no one travel out from this chamber because when you travel, you will come back and sit by me.”

On his part, Senator Sam Egwu (Ebonyi North) urged his colleagues to self-isolate when they travel out of the country.

“As a Senator if you travel out, can you quarantine yourself for two weeks before coming to the chamber,” he said.

It is worthy to note that Presidents of Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe have addressed their citizens on safety measures.

It could be recalled that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared COVID-19 a pandemic which has killed over 7,000 persons.

Also, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that the country has recorded five new cases of Covid-19, bringing total infections in Nigeria to eight confirmed cases.

He said all five cases had a travel history to the UK and U.S.

Ehanire also announced travel restrictions from 13 countries with high coronavirus cases.

The affected countries are: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, United States of America, Norway, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland.

The travel restriction will commence on March 21st 2029, he said.

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