GOVERNORS of Nigeria’s 19 northern states have lashed out at President Muhammadu Buhari for nor coming to their assistance during this coronavirus pandemic claiming that 54% of cases are in their territories and they are getting little or no federal assistance.
Nigeria currently has 6,677 coronavirus cases, of which there have been 200 deaths, with Lagos State having the highest number of instances of 2,954 with 40 fatalities. However, after that, the next six most affected territories are in northern Nigeria including Kano State, the Federal Capital Territory, Katsina, Borno, Bauchi and Jigawa states with 87 deaths between them.
After holding a virtual meeting to review the matter, the governors called for more federal intervention in their states. In a communiqué issued after the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) teleconference yesterday, they also asked that the federal government supply more relief materials in order to curb the spread of the virus.
Also, the governors lamented the continuous interstate travels by Nigerians despite the presidential order against it. They, however, noted that progress has been recorded following the return of almajiri kids to their states of origin.
“We would continue to follow the laid-down protocol for profiling, quarantining, testing, transportation, handing and taking over as well as reintegration of almajiris. We reaffirm the earlier decision by governors to purchase Covid-19 mobile testing vans which have already been ordered to boost testing of more citizens especially in the rural areas.
“On enforcing closure of inter-state boundary roads, the northern governors again expressed disappointment that despite several measures taken, including presidential orders, people still move from one state to another through compromise and use of illegal routes. The forum resolved to continue their appeal to the federal government for support to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, as the northern region now has about 54% of the national cases and 70% of new infections,” the governors added.
No doubt, the NSGF will have its eyes on the N13bn offered to the Lagos State government at the outset of the pandemic. This money was spent on building isolation centres, testing facilities and on providing palliatives during the lockdown.