Coronavirus: Address Nigerians, Senate tells Buhari

The Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the coronavirus in the country.

It also urged the federal government to shut down all international airports except Lagos and Abuja airports for easier monitoring of the disease.

The lawmakers asked the president to suspend the issuance of visa on arrival at the borders so as to check the spread of the pandemic.

This calls followed a point of order raised by Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe) during plenary on Wednesday.

It comes amidst backlash on the president for failing to address the nation like some presidents of other countries have done.

Countries like Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe have had their presidents address them since the coronavirus outbreak in those countries.

Senators like Oluremu Tinubu, George Sekibo, Sam Egwu and Emmanuel Bwacha took turns to support the call.

While some lawmakers said members of the national assembly should not travel out to countries with high cases of the virus, many others said whoever travels out of the country, should self-quarantine for two weeks before coming to the chamber.

The lawmakers expressed fears that Nigeria does not have the necessary facilities to contain the virus. This is even as they kicked against the belief that coronavirus cannot survive in Africa.

The lawmakers made their demand minutes after the federal government placed a travel ban on 13 countries with over 1000 cases of coronavirus. The government also confirmed five new cases of the virus in Nigeria, bring to eight the total number of confirmed cases.

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

The Senate also asked the federal government to take other measures not limited to travel ban such as an outright ban of some countries, tighter border controls, restricted gathering, stringent checking of coming into the country, and compulsory quarantine for two weeks for persons suspected of having the virus.

They also urged the “federal government and Nigerians to keep abreast of all the measures and development taking place worldwide.”

Other resolutions include:

“Urge the Senate to give full support in fighting the spread of Coronavirus and;

“Ensure that a testing centre is opened in each of the states of the federation.”

The lawmakers, however, rejected a resolution to urge the ministry of agriculture to restock silos.

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