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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Legislators demand travel ban on high-risk countries over coronavirus spread fears

The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 implored President Muhammadu Buhari to consider placing a travel ban on countries with a high risk of coronavirus.

Nigeria National Assembly Complex
The Nigeria National Assembly Complex, Abuja

The request was made by lawmakers following a point of order raised by the Senate Health Committee Chairman, Ibrahim Oloriegbe.

In a similar vein, the House of Representatives also urged the Federal Government to halt flights from China, Britain and other high-risk countries to forestall further outbreak of the pandemic.

The lawmakers also called on the government to ban all large gatherings in Nigeria to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.

This resolution was raised by Luke Onofiok from Akwa Ibom State.

In supporting the motion, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said that to do otherwise would be “irresponsible”.

Oloriegbe said in his point of order at the Tuesday plenary of the Senate: “If it is possible, people should not travel to countries with high risk of the cases especially in Europe where many countries are affected, unless such trips are very important.

“Government should also consider disallowing non-Nigerians from countries of high risk from entering the country. Government should also increase capacity about checking airports.”

According to the senator, Nigeria currently has only five centres where testing can be done.

He added: “Government has to step up the testing capacity and provide support for state governments.”

In his response, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, advised that more attention should be paid to the isolation and testing centres.

He said: “We are very lucky and fortunate, but we shouldn’t push our luck too far. We should be very observant of all those regulations the technical experts give us.

“There is need for Federal Government to do a little more, especially in the area of testing centres. The entire north and south-east have no testing centres and it shouldn’t be so.

“Also, for the isolation centres the state governments are building; the ministry of health should come out with a standard which will be replicated in all the states.

“So, we need to through our committees, ensure we work with the ministry of health to work with the states to ensure the isolation centres are standardised.”

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