Senator Ifeanyi Ubah Presents Motion On The Urgent Need For FG To Take Proactive Measures In Battling Coronavirus - EazyFeeds

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Friday, 7 February 2020

Senator Ifeanyi Ubah Presents Motion On The Urgent Need For FG To Take Proactive Measures In Battling Coronavirus

THE NIGERIAN SENATE ADOPTS MY MOTION ON THE URGENT NEED FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA TO TAKE PROACTIVE MEASURES TO FORESTALL AN IMMINENT SCARCITY OF SURGICAL FACEMASKS IN NIGERIA AS A RESULT OF THE CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK AND THE URGENT NEED TO CHECKMATE THE UNPATRIOTIC PROFITEERING AND ILLEGAL EXPORTATION OF FACEMASKS TO ASIA AND OTHER AFFECTED COUNTRIES.

Today, on the floor of the Senate, I presented a motion on the urgent need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to take proactive measures to forestall an imminent scarcity of surgical face-masks in Nigeria as a result of the corona virus outbreak and the urgent need to checkmate the unpatriotic profiteering/illegal exportation of face-masks to Asia and other affected countries.

Having expressed worry over the fact that in last three weeks, facemasks have become the most sought after commodity in Nigeria with over 100 million facemasks being unpatriotically exported to Asia using Murtala Mohammed Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport. I also highlighted that the exportation of these facemasks have led to a surge in the market prices. As at 5th of November, 2019, stores that usually sell 1 piece of facemask for N10 now sell it for N80, while a pack consisting of 50 pieces has now inflated from N500 to N3, 000 with a carton consisting of 40 packs also inflating from N20,000 to N120, 000.

Furthermore, I expressed Concern that major retailers and suppliers in Asia have been preserving their facemasks and reporting surgical mask shortages as a result of the outbreak and while Nigeria has continued to export imported face masks available in shop/stores to Asia and other affected countries. Consequently, it has now become a booming trade for illicit traders aided by airport officials in Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and Port Harcourt International Airport to unpatriotically export face masks to China, India and other affected countries.

I also notified the Senate of the fact that Nigeria may soon be facing a shortage of protective surgical facemasks if nothing is done to checkmate this unpatriotic exportation or promote indigenous production of the facemasks. 

Nigeria is on the brink of an imminent outbreak, given our massive population and frequency of travel; and with the looming shortage of protective surgical facemasks, we might be on our way to creating a devastating global situation. It is therefore disturbing that Nigerians are not adequately abreast and informed of the disastrous modalities and health consequences this deadly virus portends which could be further magnified by the impending shortage of protective facemasks.

I drew the attention of my distinguished colleagues to a distress call I received from a Chinese friend who confidentially and reliably informed me of the fact that Chinese companies have sent their agents to scout for medical facemasks in Nigeria and other African countries. He lamented how India and other countries are mass producing the facemasks in order to curb this deadly trend, while we are doing nothing to forestall the outbreak of this deadly Coronavirus which originated from China and has currently spread to at least 28 countries globally with suspected cases of the deadly virus in African countries. Currently, the World Health Organization has recorded 565 deaths with 28,276 cases of infected persons. 

Conclusively, I emphasized that if proactive measures are not taken to checkmate our borders, an imminent outbreak might occur in the same manner which an infected carrier immigrant from Liberia transferred the Ebola disease to Nigeria in 2014.

In view of the points I raised, the Senate accordingly resolved to:

1. Mandate the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Immigration Service and other relevant Government authorities to strengthen port health regulatory services in all entry ports across the country to checkmate the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria.

2. Mandate the Nigerian Custom Service to enforce stringent measures to curb the ongoing unpatriotic exportation of surgical facemasks from Nigeria to China while working on how best to encourage local production of essential commodities like surgical facemasks.

3. Impose strict penalties and heavy fines on anybody trying to export surgical facemasks within the period of the Coronavirus outbreak.

4. Mandate the Federal Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies to launch a sensitization and awareness campaign to enhance efforts in preventing an outbreak of the virus in Nigeria.

5. Invite the Honourable Minister of Health to brief the Senate on the preparedness of his ministry towards taking precautionary measures to stem the tide of this deadly virus.

It is my expectation that this motion having been read and adopted on the floor of the Nigerian Senate, will be referred to the relevant committees for timely and prompt legislative action.

Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Ubah.
Anambra South Senatorial District.

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