As FG admits poverty as potent weapon against it
By Henry Umoru – Abuja
The Senate has called on stakeholders in the country not to kill the Nation’s economy with the adopted European style of fighting the Coronavirus, COVID -19 pandemic.
The Senate raised the alarm yesterday against the backdrop of the imported idea of fighting COVID -19.
Speaking during an interactive session between the Senate Committees on Aviation and Health and with stakeholders in the Aviation and Health Sectors on safety measures put on the ground in the wake of commencement of International and domestic flights in the country, Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation Committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, APC, Kogi West said that though based on realities on the ground, COVID-19 is real, but not potent in Nigeria and many of the African countries.
According to him, based on that reality, it is wrong for stakeholders in the country to be swallowing hook, line, and sinker, measures being adopted to fight it in Europe, America, China, etc.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator of Presidential Task Force ( PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu has admitted that poverty is one of the strongest weapons against the pandemic.
Speaking further, Senator Adeyemi said, “There is something in us as Africans that is not in them in Europe and America, which made COVID-19 not to be disastrous here as it was there.
“In light of this, measures that are detrimental to the livelihood and well-being of Nigerians should be avoided, so as not to kill the Nation’s economy.”
Adeyemi who specifically faulted the policy adopted by the Presidential Task Force ( PTF) on COVID-19 which allows only private laboratories to carry out tests on intending Travellers abroad, said that the measure was detrimental to average Nigerians who are being forced to cough out N75, 000 for such tests.
He said, “The amount is too high, it should be brought down and public health Institutions laboratories should be equipped to carry out the tests.
” People are not finding things easy outside there as a result of way and manner COVID-19 pandemic is being fought in the country and as Representatives of the people, feelers reaching us, indicate revolt against the government in December if drastic actions are not taken between now and then, to make things easier.”
Speaking in the same vein, Senator Biodun Olujimi ( PDP Ekiti South), took up both the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu on the usefulness of face masks in Nigeria based on realities on the ground.
According to Olujimi, based on what she saw in many communities in Ekiti State last week, residents have jettisoned its usage, adding, “When I visited some communities in Ekiti State last week, nobody put on the face masks and in fact , some of them told me who put it on, not to bring COVID 19 to them.
” These are clear signs that methods and approaches being used to fight the pandemic should be reassessed and changed since the pandemic for reasons yet to be scientifically established, is far less potent here than it is, in Europe, America, etc.”
She asked the PTF National Coordinator, the reasons behind the success story in Nigeria.
Responding, Dr Sani Aliyu said the three reasons already identified are Poverty, Demography, and the aggressive nature of African Countries against the pandemic, adding that though the factor of poverty as part of the success story against COVID-19 in Nigeria is controversial it is generally believed that the pandemic gets weakened in crowded and stuffy areas.
He said, ‘ Demographically, only 3% of Nigerians are above the age 65 as against 20%, 18%, etc, of such populations in European and American countries where death casualties were high.
“Aggressive nature of African countries against the pandemic also helped tremendously in containing the spread of the pandemic in Nigeria and many of the African Countries “
The joint committee however ordered the Minister and the PTF National Coordinator, to enlarge the scope of laboratory testing for the pandemic by including the public ones and ensure a reduction in the cost of testing.
The Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe ( APC Kwara Central), said that the committee was expecting response action plans from the Minister and the PTF within the next two weeks.