Coronavirus: Restrict all international flights to Abuja and Lagos, Senate tells FG

• urges FG to establish testing centers in each state, restock silos nationwide

Nigeria Senate, on Thursday, called on the Federal Government to establish testing centres in each state of the federation as part of the effort to contain the virulent coronavirus in Nigeria.

The resolution of the Senate was sequel to a motion by Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), calling on the Senate to task the Federal Government on adopting drastic measures to contain the spread coronavirus in the country as the nation has started recording cases of the virulent and novel diseases.

Nigeria has recorded five cases of Coronavirus as of Wednesday.

Members of the red chamber among its resolution called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation on the global pandemic that is affecting Nigeria.

Also in its resolution, the Senate tasked the Federal Government, through the federal ministry of aviation, to shut down all international airports in the country and restrict flights into the country, through Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International airport, Lagos.

The upper Legislative chamber also resolved to urge the ministry of agriculture to restock the nation’s silos to mitigate food shortage in the face of the national pandemic of the virus that has collapsed global trade.

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Buttressing the need for a unified approach against the virus from all levels, the Senate said it would give full support to the Federal Government in combating the challenge.

The Senate, in its eight-point resolution, also urged the federal and state government to maintain the standard requirement in monitoring public health facilities in each state of the federation and urged the national council on health to comprising the Minister’s of health and Commissioners in the states to interface regularly on the issue to keep the nation safe.

Senator Goje, in his motion, asked the Senate to urge the Federal Government to take actions that will enable the nation to contain the disease as efforts so far are not enough.

He pointed out that countries like America, China and European countries have taken measures to contain the disease in spite of their state of national development and scientific competencies.

According to him, some African countries like Ghana, Senegal, South Africa have taken standard measures to contain the disease.

He pointed out that even countries without the sign of the virus, like Saudi Arabia, have taken measures to prevent its entry into the country, this he said emphasising the need for Nigeria to act.

He further noted that the Vatican had announced celebrating the Easter without the usual large turnout at the St Peters Basilica urging Nigeria to take conscious and deliberate measure against the virus.

He said this has become necessary as the disease appeared in New York in the United States but has manifested in all states of America.

Goje said Nigeria would be mistaken to think that the disease has been sufficiently contained in Lagos and Ogun, urging the federal government to learn from the American experience.

He said the country must be mobilised by the call of the Senate to address the challenge.

In her contribution, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) submitted that enlightenment be stepped up to make people accept the fact there is a need for caution and physical contact even though Nigerians are culturally inclined to making physical contacts while conversing.

Senator Hassan Hadeja, (Jigawa North East) maintained that Nigeria must take measures to contain it before it is compelled to do so.

He said the American experience again comes to bear as the economy is threatened to recession.

Calling for a stimulus to mitigate challenges to the economy, Senator Barau Jibril (Kano North) said it will not be out of place to borrow and spend to continue to reflate the economy.

Agreeing with him, Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Robert Boroffice, said while it is important to secure the economy, it is also important for the nation to ban migration of people coming from epidemic centres because Nigerians can only enjoy the economy when they are alive, not dead.

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