Govs Express Worries over Closure of Businesses

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Dr Kayode Fayemi

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has expressed concerns about the closure of businesses during the lockdown and promised to take measures to ease their operations within the period.

The governors, in a communique issued yesterday at the end of their virtual meeting, which was signed by the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said they recognised the importance of ensuring the continued existence of businesses during the lockdown and promised necessary measures to support the same.

The governors also pledged their continued support to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and other related agencies to states’ responses to the pandemic through the delivery of essential health equipment and the distribution of palliatives to vulnerable persons.

They commended the Coalition Against the COVID-19 Committee, headed by President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for its support.

“The forum received briefing from the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, on activities of the PTF, including the current partnership with the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to support states’ response to the pandemic through the delivery of essential health equipment and the distribution of palliatives to vulnerable persons,” the communique said.

The governors commended the presidential task force and NCDC for ramping up the country’s testing and contact tracing capacity during the first stanza of the two-week lockdown in many parts of the country.

They called for greater collaboration with all the states of the federation, which were described as the primary stakeholders of the COVID-19 response.

NGF said the governors were working to improve their logistical and operational efficiency for sample collection and care, stating that most states have established COVID-19 hotlines and would ensure that emergency services are integrated into the operations of their Task Force on COVID-19.

They added that infection prevention and control committees would be set up in states to support the role of health workers who are at the frontline of the pandemic.

“Following a briefing from the CACOVID led by Messrs Aliko Dangote and Herbert Nwigwe and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on the delivery of healthcare equipment and distribution of palliatives to the most vulnerable persons across states, the governors commended the group for their commitment and collaboration on the COVID-19 response,” the communique added.

It explained that the governors recognised the importance of ensuring the continuous existence of businesses during the lockdown and would take steps to support it.