Governors across the thirty-six States of the federation have expressed concerned over the continued movement of persons across States despite the enforcement of inter-State lockdown. The chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State made this known at the end of the 7th COVID-19 Teleconference Meeting of the governors on Wednesday to deliberate on the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Governor Fayemi pointed out that the Forum would collaborate with the Nigeria Police Force, as well as State chapters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and local government officials to strengthen security surveillance along State boarders.
The NGF Chairman during the meeting briefed State Governors on coordination efforts with the federal government, multilateral and bilateral partners, and the private sector through the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to which governors expressed strong appreciation to the private sector coalition for the provision of palliatives to households and testing facilities to help curb the spread of the pandemic.
The Forum also received an update from Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who is heading the Committee that liaises with development partners in response to the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on States.
According to him “the NGF Secretariat will provide technical assistance to State governments in the preparation of their revised budgets for 2020, including guidance on macroeconomic and fiscal assumptions that reflect current realities”.
The Governors, after an interactive session with Alhaji Aliko Dangote during the meeting commended Dangote for his increasing involvement in the fight against COVID-19, and pledged to provide the necessary logistical support to ensure that palliatives get to the people who need them.
The Forum also received a presentation from three health associations in the country, led by Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile, President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Sam Ohuabunwa, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Comrade Abdrafiu Adeniji, President, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) who prayed for Governors support in improving the working conditions of health workers at the frontline of the pandemic.
They noted that the conditions of the health workers can be improved through the provision of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) in all general hospitals and health facilities; training for health workers on infection prevention and control (IPC); harmonization of lockdown protocols; incentives such as hazard allowances and health insurance packages for health workers in the frontline; and the inclusion of senior health workers in the operations of State Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs).
“Following the presentation members commended all the medical associations for working together and urged them to abide by their Hippocratic oath which obliges them to save lives first before thinking of other things, particularly during the Covid19 Pandemic and should always reach out to government for resolution of any perceived grievances;
“Governors are committed to ensuring that personal protective equipment (PPE) are available in all general hospitals and health facilities; and they are collaborating with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to provide training to health workers, including their capacity to use telemedicine to strengthen infectious disease prevention and control and the use of PPE to stem the spread of the virus among health workers;
“In the light of rising cases of infection among health workers, State governments will engage with their health workers to ensure that their safety and welfare are protected”, the NGF chairman said.
By Saheed Badmus