The Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday, March 4; directed the Ministries of Finance and Health to immediately release the N620million already earmarked by the Federal Government; to enable the NCDC put in place what is required to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
Lawan gave the charge when he led the leadership of the upper chamber on an on-the-spot-assessment of the isolation Centre at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja.
He described the temporary isolation centre for victims of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Abuja; as ill-equipped for the purpose, it was meant.
This is in the aftermath of statements attributed to the officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); who lamented that the Federal Government is yet to release funds to it from the N620million earmarked to fight the disease.
They said they had to borrow money to buy beds, foams, air conditioners and other critical medical equipment; for the temporary isolation Centre in Abuja due to lack of funds.
Lawan vowed that the Senate would ensure that the money is released.
He also called on the NCDC to build permanent isolation centres in the other five geo-political zones of the country.
Lawan said: “First of all, let me say that both the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health; the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control; the management of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital are in high spirits looking determined to discharge their mandate and obligations.
“But from our inspection here, the temporary isolation centre is really not in good shape. It doesn’t look ready to receive any patient. I believe that this is something we have to fix between today and tomorrow.
“We have to do everything and anything possible to fix that temporary isolation centre to be prepared and ready to receive anyone who falls sick in this respect.
“We are going to get across to the Minister of Finance and all the other authorities; who have anything to do with this to release N620million between today and tomorrow latest.
“There is no way that Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa with the population of 200 million; yet in the Federal Capital and the surrounding states of the North Central; you don’t have one room that you can call an isolation centre where anyone who unfortunately falls into this crisis will be taken to. This is not acceptable.”