A presidential aspirant in the 2019 general elections, Okey Samuel Mbonu has said that it was now glaring that Covid-19 was now in Nigeria.
He said the dreaded virus was going to test the leadership mettle of Africa’s largest democracy as it prepares Nigeria for a potential catastrophe.
He added that the country must unite to fight the battle, because “a divided house shall not stand”.
Mbonu, who is the Executive Director of Washington, DC-based Nigerian-American Council (NAC), stated this in a statement on Wednesday, made available to Ripples Nigeria.
In the statement released through his senior media assistant, Charles Adeyinka, Mbonu made some recommendations on how the Nigerian government can overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
He said as government “rapidly prepare Nigeria for a potential catastrophe, even if that catastrophe does not come that it must:
1. Immediately convene a Federal and States Corona Task Force, comprising of the Minister for Health, and the commissioners for Health, of all the 36 states.
2. The Task Force should immediately commence to hold weekly video conference calls (Video calls would avoid risk of physical proximity infections), compare notes, and evaluate available resources and preparedness for the containment of COVID-19 nationwide.
3. The federal government should in coordination with the 36 states, organize a partial shutdown of all non-essential work, and services, and gatherings of more than 10 persons, for at least a 2 to 3 weeks duration, with a possibility of further extension.
4. The federal government should convene a private-sector task force of the “Nigerian Medical Association” and the “Nigerian Pharmaceutical Association”, to form a joint task-force, to coordinate healthcare delivery, therapies and data reportage. This body would also meet weekly, via Video Conference Calls, to report on member’s field-reports, and the impact of COVID-19 on direct patient-care.
5. The federal government should convene an emergency meeting between the telecommunications companies and the government, with a view to reaching an understanding, to provide citizens with 2-4 weeks’ worth of free or highly subsidized phone and data services, for the duration of the shutdown above, for all elderly and all lower income citizens.
6. The federal government should prepare an emergency Executive Order (later to be passed into law by legislators), prohibiting all price-gouging, profiteering, or contract misappropriation by government officials, in regard to COVID-19, with stiff penalties of incarceration for up to 10 years, without option of fine, upon conviction of any violators.
7. The federal government may initiate any other monetary reliefs for citizens, over the next 30 days, including cash payments, such as the ‘Trader-moni’ scheme that this same government provided during last year’s national elections.”
He said President Muhammadu Buhari government would be wise to execute the above recommendations immediately, to avoid a major public health catastrophe in Nigeria, given the non-existence of modern healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria.
Focus keyword: Covid-19
Metal keywords: Covid-19, Okey Samuel Mbonu, ex-presidential aspirant on Covid-19
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