COVID-19: Reps donate two months salary; Sanwo-Olu thanks Lagosians for observing restriction; four fresh cases in FCT, Lagos; FG suspends work at Enugu Airport; Soun wishes Makinde ‘quick, full recovery’


Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has announced that all 360 members of the House resolved to donate their  two months’ salaries to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, Gbajabiamila said that the two-month salaries donation was independent of the contributions by individual lawmakers to alleviate the hardship at their various constituencies.
According to him, from March salary, the lawmakers’ donation will be transferred directly to the National Relief Fund account for the fight against COVID-19.
“We have in the House of Representatives jointly committed to contributing 100 per cent of our salaries for the next two months to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“Our contribution will support provisions for the welfare of front-line medical professionals and health workers, and other interventions to provide for the well-being of all Nigerians through these trying times.
“Accordingly, I have directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to see to it that all members’ salaries are transferred to the National Relief Fund for this month and the next,” he said.
The speaker said the House would exercise its oversight power to ensure faithful administration of all emergency funds and contributions made so far to ensure they serve the purpose for which they were intended.
”The House has already mandated the Committees on Health and Disaster Preparedness to diligently oversee the distribution of items donated by local and foreign donors to ensure proper management’’, he said.
Gbajabiamila also said the House had urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make cash grants to the 774 local government areas in the country to alleviate the suffering of the masses.
He implored Nigerians to adhere strictly to the guidelines given by relevant authorities to prevent further spread of the disease, saying that Nigeria could not afford to have a large scale outbreak of the disease.
The lawmaker commended the sacrifices made by all the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
He also lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to manage the outbreak and alleviate its adverse economic and social impact on Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila said the House would in every way it could “continue to support these efforts to ensure that our people make it through this difficult time with dignity and peace of mind.”
He urged governors of states that had not recorded any confirmed case to proceed as if they had, taken all precautions and making all the same preparations as in those states where there had been established cases.
Gbajabiamila also expressed profound appreciation to all the individuals and organisations who had stepped up to support Federal and State Governments.
“Let it be that when we think of this moment and of the roles we have each played, our memories are filled with the remembrance of heroes and the names of those who in their lives fought for life and left the vivid air signed with their honour,” Gbajabiamila said.
Meanwhile, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has thanked Lagosians for observing the stay-at-home restriction in the state.
In a statement, he said: “Lagosians  experienced today the beginning of the 14-day restriction of movement ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to stop the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I would like to note the high level of our people’s compliance with this presidential directive. It has shown that we realise the enormity of the challenge that we are facing and the choice that we have made – fighting to stave off a massive attack of COVID-19 and staying alive to reclaim our life that has been disrupted by this unseen enemy. 
“The restriction, I would like to remind us, is to contain the community spreading of this disease by enlisting everybody in the fight and ensuring that many more do not contract it.
“It is on this note that I would like to warn those who may wish to breach the restriction that their action is against the Public Health interest of all Lagosians. 
“On the medical front, I have been informed that all our  COVID 19 patients are stable. Five of them were discharged on Monday and – by the grace of The Almighty- more will soon be out of hospital. Our medical staff – exceptional men and women all – are doing their all to ensure that the  patients do well, regain their health and return home to their families. We will be doing a lot to encourage them and lighten their burden by staying indoors.
“Only those rendering essential services, who must be well identified; are allowed to go out when necessary. 
“Our Welfare Package remains on course. As I have often said, those at the bottom of the economic ladder, the underprivileged and the most vulnerable among us, will not be left to fend for themselves at this difficult time, Our Relief Package, which is to reach about 200,000 households in the first instance, has continued. Parts of the following local governments are being covered: Amuwo Odofin, Epe, Ikeja, Badagry, Ibeju – Lekki, Agege,Oshodi-Isolo, Apapa and Lagos Mainland. Others will soon be reached.
“May I seize this opportunity to thank those worthy Lagosians, who have demonstrated the true spirit of  “A Greater Lagos” by coming forward to help at this time.
“I salute our law enforcement agents who have been working tirelessly to ensure that the presidential directive is enforced. I enjoin them to continue in that spirit. They should be firm  but courteous in discharging their responsibilities.
“Again, I have no doubt that if we continue to fight in unity, COVID-19 will be defeated and we will come out victorious as we always do”.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed four new cases of novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) in the country with three in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), and one in Lagos State.
The new cases take the toll of confirmed cases in the country to a total 139.
Earlier on Tuesday, four cases had been confirmed in both Osun and Ogun States.
NCDC, through its verified Twitter account on Tuesday, said that out of the four cases, Osun recorded three while Ogun had one case.
“As at 08:00 pm March 31 there are 139 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. Nine have been discharged with two deaths,”  it said.
NCDC said that currently, there were 82 cases in Lagos; Abuja 28, Oyo- eight; Osun- five; Ogun – four; Kaduna-three; Enugu, Edo and Bauchi with two cases each, while Ekiti, Rivers and Benue have one case each.
The Federal Government earlier said that it would convert 300 GeneXpert facilities to test centres for the COVID-19.
The government said the recent inclusion of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan,  into the network laboratories for COVID-19, would enable increased testing capacity and improved turn-around time.
There is also an ongoing assessment to include seven other laboratories in the next three weeks
The laboratories would  assist other response activities, thereby reducing the numbers of deaths. 
They would also provide diagnostic support for a number of states of the federation.
As part of the measures  to containing the COVID-19 pandemic in the country,  the Federal Government has suspended the rehabilitation work at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who announced this on Tuesday,  while on  inspection at  the airport, said procurement was suspended because workers of the construction company, PW, handling the project left the site to be with their families owing to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic ravaging the world.
He  disclosed that “92-93 percent of the work at the Enugu airport has been completed.
, “The work would have been completed in a few weeks time, but the workers left to be with their families in view of the social distancing protocol. “he said. 
Announcing the suspension of the work,  the Aviation Minister said, “Considering that the construction workers have downed tools owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government hereby officially announces suspension of procurement”.
He added that the remaining work at the airport will only require 15 days to be completed when the workers return to site.
The Minister explained that though the Federal Government had closed the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, alongside others, as one of the proactive measures to contain the spread of the deadly disease, such necessary decision couldn’t have affected the ongoing work at the airport if not that the company’s workers downed tools.
He hinted  that the Federal government was fully determined to complete the rehabilitation of  the Akanu Ibiam  airport to  an international standard before Easter,.
The minister explained  that the circumstances the nation has found itself, regarding the escalating threat of COVID-19 globally, has made it impossible for the federal government to meet the deadline.
He disclosed that the federal government introduced “glass mesh” in the Enugu airport runway to strengthen it and help in retaining the structure for a very long time. He explained that the new technology, before now, was only introduced at the Abuja airport.
“Many other issues like the Cargo for this airport, other infrastructure, the terminal building under rehabilitation including the air conditioner system in the new international airport being built by the Chinese and the perimeter fencing, drainage and water supply, among others, will all be completed in this airport”, he said.
He commended Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, South-East governors and  other stakeholders, for their sacrifice and commitment towards the rehabilitation of the  airport,  appealing for understanding on the part of the people of the Southeast zone. He expressed hope that the issue of COVID-19 would be resolved soon.
Present at the site were the Enugu Airport Manager, Mrs. Cecilia Oguama, the Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum Airport Rehabilitation/Palliative Works Committee, Engr. Chris Okoye, Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Greg Nnaji, his information counterpart, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, among others.
The Minister was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Rabiu Yadudu, 
Meanwhile, the Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade, has expressed sadness over the spread of coronavirus disease across the globe.
Lamenting the positive result of the Governor of Oyo state, Seyi Makinde for COVID-19 , the paramount ruler prayed to God to heal Nigeria and other parts of the world of the pandemic. 
Oba Oyewumi, while wishing the governor a quick and full recovery, called on Nigerians to abide by the guidelines set aside by government at all levels,  World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control ( NCDC) and other stakeholders to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In a goodwill message, the monarch commended the Governor of Oyo state,  who had been in self isolation before his test result came out,  for making public his test result, adding that the action of the Governor is patriotic.
He said, ” I was pained when I received the news that our amiable Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde, has tested positive for coronavirus.
“The pandemic is spreading fast across the world and as such all hands must be on deck to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
“Government must provide quick and optimal medical services to those with symptoms of COVID-19 while enforcing the stay at home order for the citizenry to curtail the spread of the virus.
“This period, no doubt, is challenging for the government and the governed. 
“However, if the guidelines set aside by health institutions are strictly adhered to, the spread of the virus will be curtailed.
“Nigerians must collectively work as a people and as a nation to fight the pandemic for the sake of national well being.
Oba Oyewumi, called on the people of Oyo state, to intensify prayers for the speedy recovery of Governor Makinde and other Nigerians, who have also tested positive for COVID 19.
The monarch equally prayed for the quick recovery of people who have exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus disease.


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