By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called for the decentralisation of COVID-19 response as the best chance of nipping spread of the virus in communities in the country.
The forum made the call in a communiqué issued after its Wednesday 6th teleconference meeting, signed by its Chairman and Governor of Ekiti, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Fayemi said that the call was imperative with over 25 states now affected by spread of the virus and increasing evidence of community transmission.
The governors, according to Fayemi also unanimously agreed to the implementation of an inter-state lockdown in the country over the next two weeks to mitigate spread of the virus from state to state.
“Following an update from the NGF Secretariat on the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, members expressed serious concern over the rising spread of the virus among health workers.
“The governors resolved to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that health workers are adequately provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and are constantly trained on the use of protective gears.
“In order to strengthen coordinated implementation of necessary public health recommendations across states, Governors resolved to set up COVID-19 Committees at the regional level, headed by their State Commissioners of Health.
“Regional Committees will continue to interface with the State Task Force Committees on COVID-19 already established in each state.
“The Forum also received briefing from the Governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Oyo and Ogun states who shared their experiences and lessons from the fight against COVID-19.
“Governors unanimously agreed to the implementation of an inter-state lockdown in the country over the next two weeks to mitigate spread of the virus from State to State. Only essential services will be permitted,” he said.
Fayemi briefed the Forum on the rapidly evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and coordination efforts with the Federal Government, multilateral and bilateral partners, and the private sector through the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
The forum held a minute’s silence in honour of all Nigerians who had lost their lives to coronavirus, especially health workers who were in the front lines of the epidemic.
Members also conveyed their condolence to President Muhammad Buhari and the people of Borno on the death of the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari who passed away on April 17.
“Lastly, the Forum congratulated the Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai who after nearly four weeks of testing positive and observing very strict medical regime has now received two consecutive negative test results for the coronavirus,” he added.