Nigeria's House of Representatives has summoned the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, and Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, to appear and brief it on May 5 on government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its template for the intervention in all states of the federation.
This follows the unanimous adoption of a motion of Matter of Urgent Public Importance by Ado Doguwa (APC-Kano) at the plenary on Tuesday.
Doguwa said that index COVID-19 case was reported on February 27, 2020 in Nigeria and the country had so far recorded 1,337 confirmed cases of the virus, 40 deaths and 255 recoveries.
He said the Federal Government had released N5bn to NCDC to scale up capacity and strategise on a rapid response to the pandemic.
The lawmaker expressed worry over the rising spate of unexplained deaths in Kano State in recent weeks where 77 COVID-19 cases had been recorded, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
According to him, Kano being the most populated state of the federation, according to the National Population Commission, has only one testing centre.
The lawmaker said the centre had been shut down for about a week now,m due to lack of some testing materials and reagents.
He expressed concern that Nigeria had so far tested 10,918 of its estimated 200 million population whereas Ghana, South Africa and Egypt with much lower populations had tested 168,643, 100,622, and 90,000 of their people respectively.
Doguwa said Nigeria currently has a capacity for 3,000 tests in a day whereas South Africa has nearly 10,000 capacity per day.
He said Nigeria has only 15 testing centres, one each in Kano, Sokoto, Borno, Kaduna, Plateau, Oyo, Osun, Edo, and Ebonyi states, two in the FCT and three in Lagos.
“Convinced of the urgent need to arrest the rising cases of unexplained deaths in Kano and also scale up the national response to the Coronavirus pandemic, including the establishment of at least one testing centre in every state of the federation to save the nation from the scenario being witnessed in Kano, summon the DG NCDC, Minister of Health, and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force to appear before the House at plenary on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, to brief it on government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its template for the intervention in all the states of the federation.”