ABUJA, Nigeria – The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) on Monday demanded a special fund from the Federal Government to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
Simon Lalong, chairman of the forum and governor of Plateau State made the plea in a statement issued by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham in Jos, after members’ meeting via teleconferencing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Northern Governors met to discuss issues of COVID-19 with special attention to its effects on the region.
Lalong claimed that some special funds were given to other States but no State in the region has received any special allocation in spite of their record of cases.
According to him, the fund would assist them in their frantic efforts to prevent any outbreak, as well as prepare against any eventuality.
He expressed worry that efforts to combat the pandemic had eaten deep into the pockets of the states as they had spent huge money already and might not be able to sustain the gesture.
Lalong said, “The forum would liaise with the federal government and the private sector to benefit from available palliatives and donations.
“The region was making efforts to diversify its economy by concentrating on areas of its comparative advantage to reduce over dependence on federal government allocations, adding that it would also strengthen border controls and surveillance as well as collaborations, to ensure that there was synergy in enforcing movement restriction in the region.
“There were indications that enforcing cross-border movements remained a challenge, as some recorded cases in some states were from external contacts in spite of borders’ closure.”
Lalong stated that the resolutions of their meeting were for each State to adopt suitable measures peculiar to its environment as total lockdown may be detrimental, since most people in the region were farmers who needed to cultivate their farms, especially as the rainy season begins.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the measures taken to combat the pandemic and promised to support him to defeat the disease.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Monday, confirmed twenty new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria.