*NASS May shut down if situation persists-Spokesman
By Ignatius Okorocha
Alarmed at the increasing rate of the spread of dreaded Coronavirus in parts of the country in particular and other countries of world, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has asked Senators from foreign trips to go for medical test.
This was as the upper chamber has suspended public hearing from Tuesday next week till further notice while barring students and organizations seeking to observe Senate proceedings from entry into the gallery.
To ensure strict compliance with this resolution, Senate directed its management to shut down the gallery from guests who may wish to observe its proceedings from there till further notice.
Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Godiya Akwashiki ( Nasarawa North) who was fielding questions from Senate correspondents on the outcome of senate closed door said the president of the Senate has directed Senators that recently returned from foreign trips to proceed on test and self quarantine for two weeks.
“The Senate President has announced that as from today all those who have returned from foreign trips should to go and test themselves. We as leaders and we should show example to others,” said.
Lawan had at the end of the Executive session, announced the suspension of Public hearings, shut down gallery while barring Students and organizations coming to the senate on excursion to observe its proceedings till further notice.
Speaking further on the Coronavirus scare, Akwashiki said if situation gets worse National Assembly may be forced to close down its activities completely by next week.
” If by next week the situation gets out of hand, I want to assure you that we may be compelled to shut down the National Assembly because we ourselves have lives to protect and we don’t have spared lives. So that the place will be safe and Nigerians will be safe for all of us.
“For this reason we have restricted the influx of people into the National Assembly as from next week. Security agencies will beef up checks on those coming into the complex as a measure to check the spread of Coronavirus,” he noted.
On Senate invitation to President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation on steps taken by his administration to check the spread of Coronavirus to parts of the country, he said, “if he didn’t address the nation in the next one week, the leadership of the National Assembly will engage the Executive arm of government.
“This is because the situation we found ourselves now is not an issue of Mr President or National Assembly. And this virus is no respecter of anybody. So once you catch it you are going.so I want to urge you to exercise patience with Mr president. Let’s give him one week to address the nation.”
Meanwhile, investigation carried out by our correspondent has shown that about 12 Senators have been identified to have come back from foreign trips within the last one week.