By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Nov. 5, 2020 The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has resolved to increase COVID-19 testing in all local governments to prevent a second wave of the pandemic in Nigeria.
The forum made the resolution in a communiqué issued in Abuja on Thursday after its 21st teleconference meeting.
The governors said the test was necessary following imported cases of COVID-19 from abroad.
The communiqué signed by NGF Chairman, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, said that the governors deliberated on issues affecting Nigeria, particularly the impacts of the COVID-19 and the fallouts of the ENDSARS protests.
It quoted Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, the Chairman, NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 as making the appeal while updating the governors at the virtual meeting.
It stated that Okowa raised concerns about the currently low testing numbers in the country especially in the light of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases globally.
The governors, according to the communiqué, resolved to adapt both the state and regional levels guidelines to be developed and issued by the National Economic Council Sub-Committee on Engagement to reduce restiveness among youths.
It added that it was clear that agitations were attributable to social and economic inequality in the country.
“The NEC Sub-Committee is mandated to engage with youths, civil society organizations, religious, political and traditional leaders with the objective of framing a new security and stability architecture for the country”.
The governors also agreed to engage stakeholders to drive a common agenda and generate the required support for security personnel who played vital role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of citizens.
“The governors commended CACOVID for presenting the true situation of what transpired in the light of the unfortunate misperception that attended the distribution of palliatives at the state level.
“They resolved that the NGF Chair should work with the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Chairperson to address the media in addition to members speaking up in their local settings.
“The governors resolved to educate the citizenry about the various palliatives provided by the states including cash transfers, food items, medical supplies, and tax incentives given to individual taxpayers and businesses.’’
The communiqué added that the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki provided an update on the status of the World Bank’s State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
“The governors resolved to direct their commissioners of finance to sign the SFTAS subsidiary grant agreements with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to give effect to the principles and objectives of the program in their states.’’
It added that assessment of states’ amended budgets published at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic had been completed while the verification for the implementation of tax relief programmes in all states was underway.