Northern Governors Forum want COVID-19 fund from Buhari
The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has asked for special fund from the Federal Government to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
The chairman of the forum and governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong made the call on Monday in Jos, after members’ meeting via teleconferencing.
The Northern Governors discussed COVID-19 with special attention to its effects on the region.
President Buhari had approved N10billion for Lagos.
Now every state wants the largesse.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers had raised the issue first.
He accused the APC central government of discrimination.
Lagos is an APC state, just like Buhari’s central government is APC controlled.
Lalong said the states in the northern parts also require the special funding.
He said the fund would assist them in their frantic efforts to prevent any outbreak as well as prepare against any eventuality.
He claimed 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 campaign.
He said the forum would liaise with the federal government and the private sector to benefit from available palliatives and donations.
Lalong said 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.
He said the region would strengthen border controls and surveillance as well as collaborations, to ensure that there was synergy in enforcing movement restriction in the region.
He said that there were indications that enforcing cross-border movements remains a challenge, as some recorded cases in some states were from external contacts in spite of border closure.
The NGF leader said the meeting resolved that each State adopt suitable measures peculiar to its environment.
The NGF said a 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 said the forum would liaise with the federal government to ensure that every State in the region gets at least one testing centre while highly populated ones could get two.
The chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the measures taken to combat the pandemic and promised to support him to defeat the disease.
Lalong also commended the citizens of the region for supporting various directives of the State Governments in handling the situation, urging them to endure the situation being a global emergency.