The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday warned stakeholders in the health sector against COVID-19 measures that are damaging to the health and livelihood of Nigerians.
The notice of the possible occurrence came during an interactive session between the Aviation and Health committees of the Senate and stakeholders in the Aviation and Health Sectors to deliberate on safety measures in the wake of the commencement of flight operations in the country.
Chairman of the Aviation Committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi West), said it is wrong for stakeholders in Nigeria to accept measures approved to fight the virus abroad.
“There is something in us as Africans that is not in them in Europe and America, which has made COVID-19 not to be disastrous here as it is there.
“In the light of this, measures that are detrimental to the livelihood and well-being of Nigerians should be avoided, so as not to kill the Nation’s economy,” he said.
Adeyemi faulted the policy adopted by the Presidential Task Force [PTF] on COVID-19 that allows private laboratories to carry out tests on intending travellers abroad.
The measure according to him is disadvantageous to average Nigerians who are being forced to pay N75, 000 for such tests.
“People are not finding things easy as a result of the way and manner COVID-19 pandemic is being fought in the country and as Representatives of the people, feelers reaching us, indicate revolt against the government in December if drastic actions are not taken between now and then to make things easier,” he warned.
Many health practitioners are of the view that for reasons yet to be scientifically established, the coronavirus is far less potent in Africa as it is in other continents. However, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu identified poverty, demography, and the aggressive nature of African countries as reasons for the reduced potency of the coronavirus.
According to Aliyu, “though the factor of poverty as part of the success story against COVID-19 in Nigeria is controversial, it is generally believed that the pandemic gets weakened in crowded and stuffy areas.
“Demographically, only three per cent of Nigerians are above the age of 65 as against 20 per cent, 18 per cent of such populations in European and American countries where casualties were high.
“Aggressive nature of African countries against the pandemic also helped tremendously in containing the spread of the pandemic in Nigeria and many of the African Countries,” he said.
The Senate committees also asked the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, and the PTF National Coordinator, to enlarge the scope of laboratory testing for the pandemic by including public laboratories and ensure a reduction in the cost of testing.