Abuja is not ready for coronavirus - Senate President, Ahmad Lawan decries FG's failure to release N620m for isolation centre
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has raised an alarm of Abuja not being ready for coronavirus at the moment as the isolation center in the capital city is still in a bad state.
The Senate President who alongside his colleagues toured the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada on Wednesday March 4, stated that the N620 million meant for the completion of the isolation center has not been released.
Lawan called on the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed to immediately release N620 million which is the budgeted amount for emergency response to the coronavirus (COVID – 19) outbreak, to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure the isolation center is completed.
“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 obligation,” he said.
“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.
“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 also decried the inability of the federal government to complete isolation centers in any of the geo-political zones, despite having the largest economy in Africa.
“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.
“So, we are going to ensure that the money is released, we are not going to put pressure. This is what they are supposed to do, and they must do it. 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 geo-political zones of the country.
“Let’s spend money for our people, we waste money for 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."
Lawan maintained that Nigeria must be prepared for any outbreak, as 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 contractor said by the end of this month this should be ready, we pray it should be faster, but by the end of tomorrow, that temporary site must be ready.
“There’s no generator, no electricity, nothing. There were two or three air conditioners brought this morning, maybe because yesterday we said we were coming here. This is not acceptable.
“As leaders given responsibilities, we have to do what is right. This is unfortunate. So, the ministry of finance should release the N620 million between today and tomorrow.”