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Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Reps to suspend plenary for two weeks over coronavirus

Reps to suspend plenary for two weeks over coronavirus

The house of representatives has resolved to suspend plenary sessions for two weeks to give room for adequate preparation against coronavirus.

The two-week suspension is also to enable the federal lawmakers to be tested for the virus, the house said on Tuesday.

It did not immediately say when the suspension will take effect.

The resolution followed a motion on ‘emergency response to tackle coronavirus’ introduced during the plenary session by Josiah Edem from Akwa Ibom state.

During the debate on the motion, most of the lawmakers lamented that there is no measure to adequately prepare the national assembly in the event of the infection of staff or any of the visitors.

Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader, then moved for an amendment that the house should suspend its activities to enable the management put in adequate measures to avoid a spread of the virus.

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He said the Italian who imported the virus into the country travelled to Ogun state and expressed fears the infection could easily spread to other parts of the country including to the National Assembly Complex.

“This house should suspend plenary for two weeks for adequate handling of this matter and to allow management to put measures so that all of us can be be tested,” he said.

“This is a very serious matter… otherwise you don’t know who you are shaking.”

Isiaka Ibrahim from Ogun said the federal government “needs to do more to be pro-active”.

“The facilities are not here presently,” he said, adding: “There are only two control centres, one in Lagos and one in Abuja. Nigeria is standing at zero as far as this is concerned.

“This is a wake up call for all of us. We are not talking about coronavirus. What is the case after coronavirus?”

Awaji-Inombek Abiante from Rivers state said there is nothing to check the spread of the virus to the National Assembly Complex.

“We brought down a motion to bring down our brothers and sisters in Wuhan for fear that we don’t have the capacity to handle it. Now, our fears have caught up with us,” he said.

“We saw where ministers were praising themselves that Nigeria was ready for the coronavirus. We should be more pro-active. Here, there is nothing to check any man who is symptomatic.

“We don’t have anything at all. Are we ready for what is coming to us? The answer is no. Let us make contributions that will indeed better the future of this country and that of Nigerians.”

Nasiru Ali from Kano state said it is a sad thing that Nigeria has only three isolation centres despite being Africa’s most populous country.

Nigeria currently has only one case of the disease in Lagos — an Italian who was diagnosed of the infection last week.

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