• Asks health ministry to investigate
• Says death toll hits 15, 104 persons infected
• Chinese govt assures Nigerians of overcoming disease
The Senate yesterday expressed worry over the non-screening of chartered flight passengers at the local wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and expressed the fear that such failures might be deadly in view of the threats posed by the coronavirus epidemic in China.
It, therefore, charged the police, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to strengthen all health regulatory services in all entry ports across the country to checkmate the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria.
Adopting a motion sponsored by Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra), the upper legislative chamber equally mandated the NCS to “enforce stringent measures to curb the ongoing unpatriotic exportation of surgical facemasks from Nigeria to China while working on how best to encourage local production of essential commodities like surgical facemasks.”
Also, the Senate charged the Federal Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies to launch a sensitisation and awareness campaign to enhance efforts in preventing an outbreak of the virus in Nigeria.
At a meeting with officials of the health ministry in the National Assembly, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, lamented that the absence of health checks at the private terminal could make for easy movement of infected bodies into the country.
The Senate accordingly urged the Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, to deploy health officials to the airport to ensure proper screening of passengers, particularly VIPs on chartered flight. In another development, the Senate has raised the alarm over the outbreak of a strange disease in Oye-Obi Local Council of Benue State.
The upper chamber, accordingly, urged the Federal Ministry of Health to immediately mobilise focal persons to the area to investigate and ascertain the nature of the disease, which has so far claimed 15 lives and 104 infected.
The Senate also urged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to promptly put up surveillance to contain the disease, see to the treatment of victims and protect others from contacting it.
These were resolutions reached sequel to the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) during plenary yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, yesterday, in Taraba State, said the Chinese government would leave no stone unturned to curtail the deadly coronavirus disease that is presently spreading through the nooks and crannies of the country. The ambassador, who stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, said that his aim of visiting the state was to explore ways of strengthening a bilateral co-operation with the Taraba government, which according to him, would go along way in improving the socio-economic development of both the state and that of China.
He, therefore, urged Taraba indigenes not to lose sleep as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus disease, adding that the Chinese government is working harder to curtail the spread of the deadly disease, which had so far claimed several lives and incapacitated others. The Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu, who represented the governor, applauded the enormous contributions of the Chinese to the socio-economic development of the state and Nigeria at large.