Governors Call for Decentralisation of COVID-19 Response Team

Kayode Fayemi
Kayode Fayemi
  • To work with NCDC to protect health workers in states

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

With over 25 States now affected by the spread of coronavirus and increasing evidence of community transmission, state governors Wednesday called for the decentralisation of the COVID-19 response team as the best chance of nipping community spread of the virus in the bud.

Also, the governors pledged to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to protect health workers across the states.

In a communique of the 6th teleconference meeting of the governors signed by the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi, the governors said, following an update from the secretariat, “members expressed serious concern over the rising spread of the virus among health workers and resolved to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that health workers are adequately provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and are constantly trained on the use of protective gears”.

According to the communique of the meeting, the governors said that in order to strengthen coordinated implementation of necessary public health recommendations across states, governors resolved to set up COVID-19 committees at the regional level, headed by their state commissioners of health, regional committees will continue to interface with the state taskforce committees on COVID-19 already established in each state.

The forum also said that it received briefing from the governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Oyo and Ogun States who shared their experiences and lessons from the fight against COVID-19.

According to the communique of the meeting, “Governors unanimously agreed to the implementation of an inter-state lockdown in the country over the next two weeks to mitigate the spread of the virus from state to state. Only essential services will be permitted”.

The communique said that the governors held a minute’s silence in honour of all Nigerians who have lost their lives from coronavirus, especially health workers who were in the front lines of the epidemic.

The governors also conveyed their condolences to the President and the people of Borno State on the passing of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, who died on Friday.

The Communique said that the NGF chairman briefed the Forum on the rapidly evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and coordination efforts with the federal government, multilateral and bilateral partners, and the private sector through the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID). .

The communique said that the governors congratulated the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, who after nearly four weeks of testing positive and observing very strict medical regime has now received two consecutive negative test results for coronavirus.

Meanwhile. the Abuja Concerned Citizens Forum (ACCF) has urged the Minister of State for FCT, Haj. Ramatu Tijjani, who is leading the FCT committee on palliatives to engage the services of credible Civil Society Organisations in the distribution of palliatives to residents of the Federal Capital Territory whose means of livelihood had been badly affected by the ongoing lockdown occasioned by COVID-19.

The Convener of the Forum, Osaro Onaiwu, who made the call on Wednesday said it had become imperative for the FCT committee assigned with the responsibility of sharing relief packages to distressed residents to involve credible community-based organisations in the task.

He said the purpose was to ensure proper monitoring, evaluation and escalation of the process where necessary.

“It is evident that Abuja residents are becoming restless and agitated as it seems the much touted relief materials are not reaching the people who need it. We are daily being inundated with series of requests from people who can no longer fend for themselves and their families.

“These people who live on daily earnings from menial jobs which are no longer available lurk around estates and middle-class locations in the Abuja city. I am afraid we may start witnessing people breaking into homes to steal if something is not urgently done,” Mr. Onaiwu noted passionately.

The ACCF convener said it was ironic that despite the many news about distribution of relief materials in the FCT, many residents were denying receipt of such. He therefore urged the committee to involve independent bodies to ensure a more transparent process.

He further advised the committee that while they spread their tentacles to residents in the area councils, persons living in the adjoining villages and settlements around the city center must not be neglected as they pose greater risk of revolt if they were not attended to.

Mr. Onaiwu specifically advocated for residents living around Apo, Lokogoma, Lugbe, Durumi, Garki village, Utako village, Gishiri, Mpape, Nyanya, Karu, Jikwoyi, Kurudu, Orozo and Karshi and similar settlements in Abuja.