…Say the Country Failed To Take Any Preventive Measures Against the Disease Frontline opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) says the poor response of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for the confirmed case of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country, stressing that the government took no concrete steps to hedge the nation
…Say the Country Failed To Take Any Preventive Measures Against the Disease
Frontline opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) says the poor response of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for the confirmed case of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country, stressing that the government took no concrete steps to hedge the nation against the virus, leading to the current scary situation. This is coming against the revelations at the Senate that no screening of disembarked passengers was on at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.
An Italian, described as a consultant with Lafarge Africa PLC, Ewekoro, Ogun State, who entered the country last Tuesday was confirmed with the virus after he has had contacts with several persons, raising questions about the inadequacy of the country’s response to contain the spread of the virus which has killed more than 2,000 in China alone.
So far several persons in 53 countries including Nigeria have tested positive to the virus with China leading with about 80,000 cases. The Republic of Korea follows with 2,337 cases while Italy, which is the worst affected in Europe, has recorded 647 cases. Already many countries have banned flights to China while some international conferences have been put off as part of efforts to halt its spread. The Saudi government also announced the suspension of hajj.
Affirming Nigeria’s first case, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said that, “The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case in Lagos State, Nigeria. The case, which was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020.
“The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
“The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly. The multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has immediately activated its National Emergency Operations Centre and will work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to this case and implement firm control measures. China reaffirms commitment to protect Nigerian students, other foreign nationals
“I wish to assure all Nigerians that have we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case.
“We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he entered Nigeria. Please be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses.
“All Nigerians should take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below: Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in-crowd. Make sure you and people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
“Please call NCDC toll free number which is available day and night, for guidance- 0800-970000-10. Do not engage in self-medication. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.
“Citizens must not abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic. The Federal Ministry of Health, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of an outbreak in Nigeria.”
But PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, argued that Buhari’s negligence and laidback attitude to governance and the welfare of Nigerians has led to the entrance of the deadly Coronavirus into the country.
The party said “it was evident that the Buhari Presidency, not being alive to its responsibilities, as usual, took no concrete steps to hedge our nation against the virus, leading to the current scary situation.
“The PDP notes that a responsive and proactive government would have mobilized effective surveillance and screening measures to ward off the menace, particularly at our entry points, but the incompetent, insensitive and indifferent Buhari administration, was more interested in propaganda and unnecessary showboating with false performance claims.
“The party also recalled that the Buhari administration had done nothing to assist Nigerian citizens stranded in China despite their pleas, just the same way it abandoned our compatriots who were being murdered in the heat of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
“The PDP said Nigerians should directly hold the Buhari Presidency responsible should any national calamity arose from COVID-19 in addition to the economic and security challenges its negligence had caused our nation.
“Due to the negligence and incompetence of the Buhari administration, Nigerians can no longer move freely across their country for fear of insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and now corona virus.
“Indeed, the Buhari government is a huge misfortune to our nation. This latest leadership failure further validates widespread calls for it to step aside for more competent hands to manage the affairs of our country.
“The PDP therefore calls on Nigerians not to despair but stir up the Nigerian resilient spirit for an urgent, multi-sectoral concerted effort by agencies, groups, corporate entities and public-spirited individuals to immediately curb the disease before it spreads, particularly given the prevalent security, economic and humanitarian challenges in the country.
“The party called on the Federal Government to end its cosmetic attitude and immediately adopt the proactive strategy used by the PDP administration to promptly contain the Ebola Virus disease in 2014.
“The PDP also advised Nigerians to be very vigilant and follow intervention directives to ensure that the disease does not spread in the country.
“The party urged the Ministry of Health to continue to be open and not allow propaganda, speculations and misinformation in the handling of this health emergency”.
Deputy Senate Leader, Mr Ajayi Boroffice, has said nobody was screened for coronavirus at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, when he arrived the country from South Africa on Wednesday.
He said it was sad that the country has failed to take any preventive measure in the global fight against the disease. He stated that passengers had been screened by health officials in South Africa before they were allowed to disembark from the plane.
Boroffice said rather than put solid checks in place, they were given a piece of paper at the Abuja airport to indicate if they had fallen ill recently.
“I was in South Africa on Friday, I came back yesterday. Because of the issue of coronavirus, every country in the world is taking preventive measures because the wisdom is that prevention is better than cure. In South Africa, we were not allowed to leave the aircraft for good 30 minutes,” he said.
“Officers of the medical corps came into the aircraft and screened everybody before we were allowed out but I arrived yesterday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport and there was no screening.
“All we were given is a sheet of paper to indicate whether we were sick and whether we have been to one country or the other and how we will be contacted if there is an emergency. How will you trail me? How do you know if I have fallen sick. This is very frightening,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President, said the Ministry of Health is not doing enough to prevent the spread of the virus into the country.
He directed the committees on public and primary health to liaise with the Health Ministry over the senator’s concern.