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Nigeria not ready to respond to coronavirus emergency – Senate President

Ahmed Lawan

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Wednesday questioned the country’s readiness to check the spread of coronavirus.

He expressed disappointment over the poor state of coronavirus isolation centre at the University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada. Lawan said this was in spite of the N620 million allocated for the set-up of isolation centres to be managed by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.

He stated this when he visited a proposed isolation facility centre at the Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada.

Lawan expressed disappointment at the state of the isolation centres which were yet to be completed.

He further lamented that Nigeria, despite being the country with the largest economy in Africa, had yet to complete an isolation centre in any of the geo-political zones.

He said, “First of all, let me say that the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and the management of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital are in high spirits, looking determined to discharge their mandates and obligations.

“But from our inspection here, the temporary isolation centre is really not in good shape, it doesn’t look ready to receive any patient, and I believe that this is something that we need to fix between now and tomorrow.

“We are in an emergency, even if we don’t have people who are affected, we shouldn’t just rest on our oars. We have to do everything and anything possible to fix that temporary isolation centre to be prepared to receive anyone who falls sick in this respect.

“There’s no way that Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, with a population of 200 million, and yet the Federal Capital and six surrounding states of the North-Central, you don’t have one room that you can call an isolation centre, where anyone who unfortunately falls into this crisis will be taken to. This is not acceptable”.

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“I also believe that we should have a replication of the permanent site, we should be able to complete this and then have five others across the remaining geopolitical zones of the country.

“Let’s spend money on our people, we waste money on some things that are less important. This is about the health and lives of the people of this country, and therefore, no investment is too much.

“So, we should be prepared at all times. We had Ebola, SARS, now we have coronavirus; we do not know what else will come, but we should be prepared and ready for any eventuality, and no investment is too much.”

The Senate President assured Nigerians that the relevant committees of the Senate will follow-up on Thursday to ensure that work on the isolation centre begins and is completed.

“The Senate Committee on Health will come back tomorrow (Thursday), we want to see that temporary isolation centre fixed,” he added.

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