Posted by News Express | 19 March 2020 | 501 times
Civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for suspending the scheduled National Sports Festival in Edo State and also shutting down all camps of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) across the country as precautionary steps to contain the expanding frontiers of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It applauded the President for the initial steps adopted after a prolonged delay and what it called his “lack of political will” to drive the process of fighting off the grave threats posed to millions of Nigerians by the rapidly rampaging pandemic of Coronavirus.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the rights group however carpeted the Federal Government and most of the 36 state governments and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory “for foot-dragging and willful failures to put in place effective proactive measures to stave off the widening spectres of Coronavirus which is beginning to spread like wild fire.”
HURIWA reminded the political administrators that Europe and America are on lockdown and therefore there is no refuge for political elite to travel abroad for medical tourism which should make it even more imperative that all hands must be on deck to eradicate corruption from the health sector and to concretely set up quality medical infrastructures to combat and contain the spread of the pandemic.
“The Federal Government should declare a state of national health emergency and introduce Marshall Plans to fix the collapsed national and regional public health facilities all over Nigeria and to motivate the medical and health workers to be ready to face and confront the emerging health emergency caused by Coronavirus.
“In the light of what it called the inertia on the part of the central and state governments to take measures to counter the spread of coronavirus, HURIWA asked the Federal Ministry of Education and states governments to shut down all public and private schools for two weeks even as the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) must never be downgraded in the government’s effort to combat coronavirus,” HURIWA said.
The rights group suggested that “health experts and not political bureaucrats should coordinate the response of Nigeria to the pandemic. The Presidential Task Force should be headed by the National Centre for Disease Control; the Federal Ministries of Health and Science/Technology and not the Secretary to the Government of the Federation who is a neophyte in the global health issues.”
Similarly, the rights group asked the authority of the Abia state University, Uturu, to immediately postpone, till a later date, the scheduled 27th convocation ceremony billed to start from March 23 – 27, 2020.
“We urge the state governors to get their state Houses of Assemblies to pass a law stipulating death penalty for any official theft of allocations meant for the health and education sectors.
“We totally condemn the lacklustre approach of all the state governors to the issue of the health of their citizens even amidst the threats posed to all citizens irrespective of class or states by the speedily emerging pandemic of coronavirus.
“Most public health centres in the South East especially are in very deplorable conditions just as allocations meant for the health sector are looted by governors.
“Yet governors are busy coming to Abuja to play politics without staying in their states to head the fight against Coronavirus which is waging war on humanity,” HURIWA said.
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