Corona virus: APC stalwart calls for total shutdown of Nigeria for 40 days

…1 suspected case confirmed in Enugu, govt releases N20m

By Hassan Zaggi and Maurice Okafor

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that there is a suspected case of Covid-19 in Enugu state.

This is few hours after the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that there is no Covid-19 case in Nigeria as one of the cases has turned negative and was ready to be discharge.

The index case, he explained, has shown considerable improvement and will follow soon.

Respond to questions from our Correspondent in Abuja, a reliable source at the NCDC confirmed that there is a suspected case in Enugu, but that: “It is under investigation. Whatever is the outcome, we will let you know.”

It would be recalled that there has been intense rumour of a suspected Covid-19 case in Enugu since Saturday.

The rumour was heightened in the social media.

Many social media platforms as early as 9 am Sunday alleged that a 70 year old woman from Owerri in Imo state, who returned from a five month vacation in United Kingdom(UK) on Wednesday, March 11, was diagnosed of suspected Corona virus at Enugu State University Teaching hospital(ESUTH), Parklane Enugu.

The Enugu State Ministry of Health also confirmed the suspected case.

Reacting to the development on behalf of the state commissioner for health, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Health said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been informed and contacted on the development.

His brief statement reads,`Sample has been collected and sent for investigations. We await the result. The suspect is being monitored

Following the suspected case of Corona Virus – COVID19 in Enugu, the state government has released the sum of N20 million for the management of the State Isolation Centre.

This is to ensure that the facilities are optimally ready to deal with the situation and any other emergency that may arise.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, stated that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has provided the required leadership and logistic support to ensure that the State Ministry of Health and the Emergency Operation Centre are functioning at optimal level and fully ready to deal with any emergency in the state.

APC stalwart calls for shutdown

Meanwhile, an All Progressive Congress (APC), stalwart, Dr. Theodore Ekechi, has advised that Federal Government to shutdown the country for the next 40 days.

This according to him, is due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 and its devastating impact in many countries of the world.

He gave the advice at a media briefing in Abuja, weekend.

According to him, his advice is premised on the fact that Nigeria does not have the capacity to confront the Coronavirus if its spreads in the country. He insisted that it is better for the country to err on the path of caution than the later finds itself in an uncontrollable situation.

Dr. Ekechi emphasized that: “It is said, a stitch in time saves nine. A cursory look at what is happening in China and Italy reveals that thousands of people have died of coronavirus and based on our way of life, the disease has the capacity to wipe out Nigeria in a few months if drastic preemptive measures are not put in place. This appeal is not prophetic but logically empirical.

“As a concerned, patriotic citizen and a statesman who is full of praises for the Federal Government’s commitment and proactive responses to this subject matter so far, I most humbly wish to advise, very strongly that the Federal Government urgently take further bold, courageous but painful steps for an initial period of 40 DAYS so as to avert an impending national catastrophe premised on the coronavirus imminent outbreak to:“Shutdown all schools – primary to tertiary – including the NYSC and advice state governments to follow suit.

“Ban all public gatherings of 50 people and above including Church and Mosque worships, crusades, rallies of all kinds, birthday parties, ubrials, etc.

“Ban all non-essential government sponsored activities like Seminars, Workshops, external trips, etc.

“Commence immediately, trainings and Mobilisation of all Military and Para-Military formations across the country for emergency response activation.

“Activate a total review of the 2020 Budget with a view to removing or reducing provisions for all NON-ESSENTIAL projects and advise state governments to follow suit.

“Effect stiffer, uncompromising controls at all Borders and Ports of Entry.

“As a matter of fact, let us “shutdown” or “postpone” part of Nigeria for 40 days to guarantee our future survival than maintaining the present attitude only to grieve ad infinitum.

“The survival measure will be reviewed periodically as the world battles the challenge of the virus.

“As it is said, a stitch in time saves nine. A cursory look at what is happening in China and Italy reveals that thousands of people have died of coronavirus and based on our way of life, the disease has the capacity to wipe out Nigeria in a few months if drastic preemptive measures are not put in place. This appeal is not prophetic but logically empirical.”

While responding to a question whether his proposal for a total lockdown of the country for 40 days is not too harsh, he said: “I am seeing, perhaps more than what most Nigerians are seeing and the purpose of this is to give government the courage and support to do more things that may not be politically correct.

“As a government that is in power and formed out of a political party, the tendency is that they government mean well and may want to do more than what they are doing, but they be reluctant to do that because many people may misinterpret their good intention and may want to use it to score some political points.

“The essence of my stand today is to give the government more of the firepower, courage to do more, particularly, our circumstances are not the same with countries that are battling with the disease.”

Dr. Ekechi reiterated that: “Nigeria is one of the major trading partners of countries like Italy and China especially in Africa. The chances are that the traffic between Nigeria and China and Italy are high, also consider that we have a very high population of Catholics here. Whether they are pilgrims or people who are just going for holy visit, we have the tendency to contact this diseases from countries more than any other African nation.

“Add that to the fact that Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja are about among the most densely populated cities in Africa and density of population helps contacts for a respiratory disease like Coronavirus.”

He, therefore, insisted that: “Our circumstance does not encourage us to wait until the disease manifests openly before we begin to react.

“China was able to build a 1000-bed hospital within seven days. By our culture, tradition and civil service structure, can we build a 1000 bed hospital in 3 years? Even under the conditions of emergency? What I am saying has nothing to do with the government of the day, it is about Nigerians and the culture and tradition of Nigeria, the one that is inherited by the All Progressive Congress (APC).

“At this point in time, I am not talking as a party man or politician, I am talking as a statesman that there is the need for us to press the burton, hit the ground running and do those things we will be doing assuming there is an emergency in the country because we don’t have the facility to catchup if it happens.”

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