Posted by News Express | 23 March 2020 | 485 times
By CHUKS OKOCHA
The Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, has written to the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to ensure that members of the National Assembly returning to the country present themselves for screening at the airports.
In two separate letters to the two presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives dated March 21, 2020 and signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the presidency complained that Senators and Members of the House of Representatives refused to present themselves for screening at the airports.
Also at the National Assembly gate, Monday, many visitors were turned back by officials of the sergeant at arms office manning the gate. The visitors were asked to go back and wait till there would be information for them to visit.
They were told that the Senate in particular had stopped receiving visitors till further notice.
Even journalists without proper means of identifications were turned back. This may not be unconnected with the Senate decision that it has closed down its gallery as well as stopped all public hearing till further notice.
The letter sighted by THISDAY at the National Assembly complex said the letter was sequel to the complaint by the Minister of Health in the attitude of the lawmakers, urging the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to use their offices to ensure that the lawmakers comply and ensure that they are screened at the airports.
The letters stated that screening of people arriving from airports remain one of the defence the federal government has over the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter titled COVID-19 AIRPORT Screening read thus:
“It has been brought to the Honourobte Minister of Health recently reported to this office that some Senators are refusing to subject themselves to medical screening at airports.
“As you are aware, these airport screenings are our primary line of defense and refusal by any citizen to subject to these tests is a threat to our nation.
“Accordingly, you are kindly requested to direct all Senators who returned to Nigeria from foreign trips to report themselves to the nearest NCDC test centre with immediate effect”.
The same letter with the same content was written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
During Thursday plenary sitting of the Senate, some senators complained of space distancing of their colleagues that just returned from overseas trip.
It was as a result of this, that the senate went into a closed door session after which they announced a partial closure of the Senate to the public.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, announced the decision of the Senate to suspend public hearings and restrict access to its chamber over growing concerns of Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in the country.
The announcement came after the Senate embarked on a closed session at the resumption of plenary to deliberate on the devastating impact which a spread of the disease may cause in the absence of preventive measures.
“The Senate resolves to suspend all public hearings till further notice as a result of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.
“In addition, the Senate gallery will remain closed to the public till further notice including excursions from schools and organisations from Tuesday 24th of March, 2020,” Lawan said. (THISDAY
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