COVID-19: Northern Governors seek special fund, say total lockdown detrimental to region

The Northern Governors (NGF) is seeking a fund from the Federal Government to the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

The chairman of the and governor of the Plateau, Simon Lalong made the call in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham on Monday in Jos, after members’ meeting via teleconferencing.

News of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Northern Governors met to discuss issues of COVID-19 attention to its effects on the region.

According to the statement, the chairman claims that some funds were given to other States but no State in the region has received any allocation in spite of their record of cases.

The governor added that the fund would assist them in their frantic efforts to prevent any outbreak as well as prepare against any eventuality.

He expressed worry that efforts to the pandemic had eaten deep into the pockets of the states as they had spent huge money already and might not be able to sustain the gesture.

He said the would liaise the federal government and the private sector to benefit from available palliatives and donations.

Lalong said the region was making efforts to diversify its economy by concentrating on areas of its comparative advantage to reduce over dependence on federal government allocations.

He said the region would strengthen border controls and as well as collaborations, to ensure that there was synergy in enforcing movement restriction in the region.

He said that there were indications that enforcing cross-border movements remained a challenge, as some recorded cases in some states were from external contacts in spite of  borders’ closure.

The NGF leader said resolutions of their meeting were for each State to adopt suitable measures peculiar to its environment as total lockdown may be detrimental, since most people in the region were farmers who needed to cultivate their farms, especially as the rainy season begins.

He said the forum would liaise the federal government to ensure that every State in the region at least one testing centre while highly populated ones could two.

The chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the measures taken to the pandemic and promised to support him to defeat the disease.

Lalong also commended the citizens of the region for supporting various directives of the State Governments in handling the situation, urging them to endure the situation being a global emergency.(NAN)