The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) says it will work with the Minister for Health, Osagie Ehanire, to set up functional test and isolation centres in every state in the country.

The NGF chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, said this on Wednesday while addressing reporters at the end of a meeting of the 36 state governors at the NGF secretariat in Abuja.

He said following the recent global crash in oil prices, the forum set up a sub-committee consisting of seven governors and chaired by Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State.

“The Forum received an update on the COVID-l9 pandemic from the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr, E. Osagie Ehanire. Governors pledged to work with the Ministry of Health to set up functional test and isolation centres in every state in the country.

“After an extensive discussion of the impact of the COVID-l 9 pandemic and falling oil prices in the Nigerian economy and the revenues of state governments, the Forum constituted a sub-committee consisting of the governors of Kaduna (Chair), Kebbi, Ebonyi, Ogun, Nasarawa, Edo and Jigawa to give a comprehensive review of the trend and advise State governments on the set of actions required to address challenges in economy.”

Brent crude, the international benchmark sold at $26.11 per barrel on Wednesday, its lowest since 2003, down from $30 last week. The crash followed the recent clash between Saudi Arabia and Russia as global markets continue to suffer amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking earlier, the health minister said he was happy with the governors’ decision to build isolation centres in all states.

He said the governors have asked him to present them with the cost of building the centres by Thursday.

He said he was also asked “to get the story of how coronavirus spread abroad and how it has come into Nigeria and what we have done so far.
“And they asked questions about our strategies, our approach and how it affects their states and our strategies and how they can have access to materials to be able to respond.

“I did not need to make an effort to remind the governors on what they should do because they all offered to play a role which was very good.

“In fact, they want to know the cost of building isolation centres, the cost of the equipment and the kits. And they want us to present them with cost tomorrow. We are happy that there is such engagement by the governors.

“We have had eight cases that are confirmed and we are trying to manage information,” Mr Ehanire added.

Coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, broke out in Wuhan, Hubei province of Central China in December last year. The virus has infected over 1716 medical workers in China alone and over 94,000 in more than 73 countries, causing no less than 5000 death cases worldwide.

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