Senate express shock over Abuja’s non readiness for coronavirus outbreak

By Bature Dan-Inni, Abuja

The Nigerian senate has bemoaned the lack of preparedness and expressed frustration at the state of the isolation centres which were yet to be completed.

The Senate President, while speaking to journalists after an inspection of two facilities located at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, said there is need for more to be done with all seriousness in order for Abuja to be fully ready and prepared for any possible outbreak of the disease.

Speaking on the findings of the Senate leadership, Lawan said, “First of all, let me say that the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) 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.

Furthermre, Lawan asked the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to immediately release the sum of N620m to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), an amount budgeted for emergency response to the Coronavirus (COVID – 19) outbreak.

He lamented, “I am sad, we are indeed actually sad, that of the N620 million that was supposed to be released to this place for fixing of everything here to NCDC, not a kobo has been released.

“We are going to get across to the Minister of Finance and all the other authorities that have anything to do with this to release this money latest between today and tomorrow.”

The Senate President, further lamented that Nigeria, despite being a country with the largest economy in Africa, is yet to have a completed Isolation Centre in any of the geo-political zones that would provide emergency response to disease outbreak in the country.

He charged those saddled with leadership responsibilities in the country to live up to expectations through timely discharge of their mandates and duties.

“There’s no way that Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, with a population of two hundred 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,” he added.