Nigeria

Coronavirus: Niger earmarks N28.2m to combat spread

The Niger State Government has on Friday earmarked N28.2 million to combat the spread of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

In another development, despite appeals and warnings on the dangers of public gatherings because of the Coronavirus, Muslim Ummahs on Friday observed the weekly Jummat prayers in Minna and other parts of the state.

It was gathered that the Muslim faithfuls gathered in their numbers to pray to Almighty Allah for help than to rely on man’s prowess as they all prayed for an end to Coronavirus.

Addressing journalists on Friday at his office in Minna, the Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, said the N28.2 million released is the first tranche of funds expected.

It should be recalled that the State Government had directed the closure of public and private schools as well as tertiary institutions across the State as from March 23, 2020.

One of the worshippers who gave his name as Mohammed Suleiman told our correspondent: “Most of us got the information today and it is good because we all must keep safe.

“But we need to pray to Allah to help us and we have done that during the prayers.”

Matane further said: “Only fanatically religious minded persons would renege on Government’s warnings, especially as it has to do with Covid-19 pandemic.”

Also, he said though public places have been suspended, markets may still be allowed to function given the fact that “no case(s) have been recorded and the Government has put measures in place to handle any situation.

“It’s a dicey one for markets to be shut down because when we were rolling out these measures we considered it.

“When you stop people from market at this period….

“But from today (Friday), we will engage with the market people and indeed traders.”

Matane said the Government recently met with leaders of both Islam and Christianity for them to abide and join hands to take measures in curbing the spread though there are no cases in Niger State.

According to him: “Every public institutions in Niger State must close down as from Monday. In Islam, self isolation and even quarantine is not bad. Same thing applies to Christianity and over 70 per cent of those who attended our meeting saw reasons with us and agreed to comply.”

While citing Saudi Arabia and Islamic Council of Nigeria as example, Matane pleaded with Muslim Ummahs and the Christian Association of Nigeria to cooperate for the said period of 30 days.

He said: “Other events that have been suspended are marriages, naming, conferences, workshops and seminars that would have over 50 people in attendance.”

While speaking on the negative effect of coronavirus on the economy, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mohammed Makun Sidi, said: “In Islam, even with ordinary rainfall, it is advised we pray indoors (house) not to talk of a pandemic.

“The reason we are calling on the people to abide by government’s orders is that we do not have the capacity to build an emergency hospital like China and other countries did.

“Across Nigeria, there are only three laboratories in Lagos, Irrua (Edo state) and Abuja; this means if there’s any suspected case, we will have to take the samples to Abuja before we can ascertain whether it is positive or negative.”

He however disclosed that the state has four wards and 16 bed spaces in the quarantine zone, adding that there are 21 Isolation wards across the State.

Consequently, the World Health Organisation Public Health Officer, Ibrahim Idris, called on the people of the State to always uphold the highest degree of personal hygiene, remain calm and adhere strictly to all safety.

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