COVID-19: Senate directs health ministry to intensify screening at airports, seaports

Senate confirms 39 career ambassador-designates

The Senate on Thursday directed its Committee on Primary Health Care to liaise with Federal Ministry of Health to intensify screening for COVID-19 at the nation’s airports and seaports.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan gave the directive following a point of order brought up by Sen. Ajayi Boroffice (APC-Ondo), under article 43 of the Senate Rule.

Ajayi has drawn the attention of the House to the non-screening of passengers coming into the country at the nation’s airport for COVID-19.

Ajayi narrated that he was subjected to screening for the disease on arrival at the South African airport for 30 minutes before passengers were allowed to disembark the aircraft.

The Senate president however said it is surprising that on arrival back to the nation’s airport, passengers are only issued a form to indicate if they are sick or not.

According to him, there is no form of screening of passengers for COVID-19 by Nigerian officials at the airport.

He said it was worrisome that travellers coming into the country were not duly screened for the dreaded virus based on his experience at the airport.

According to him, he brought his observation to the senate for the Federal Ministry of Health and other concerned agencies to take note.

The Senate president also thanked Sen. Boroffice for raising the issue.

He said every country in the world is making efforts to ensure the virus did not cross their borders.

He said although the Federal Ministry of Health and other associated agencies are doing their best, he however described their best as “not good enough”.

“We must take all the necessary measures at our ports, airports, sea ports, to protect our people.

“If anybody is coming from China, he or she should be quarantined not even isolation for two weeks or four weeks, we have to protect the lives of Nigerians,” he emphasised.

Meanwhile, the senate has considered the first reading of five bills at plenary.

The bills are Pharmacy Council of Nigeria repeal and re-enactment bill 2020, by Sen. Abdullahi Yahaya, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria Alteration bill 2020 by Sen.Ovie Omo Agege (APC -Delta).

It also received the report of the Committee on Niger Delta on the 2019 Budget Estimates of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Also considered for second reading at plenary was a Bill for an Act to repeal the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004 and enact the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.

The Bill sponsored by Sen. Abdullahi Yahaya seeks to provide for incorporation of companies, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, registration of business names, and other related matters.

Also considered for second reading is a Bill for an Act to facilitate use of information in Electronic form for conducting transactions in Nigeria and for connected purpose sponsored by Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC Ogun).

The Bill was refereed to Senate Committee on Banking and other Financial matters for further legislative inputs.

Also considered for second reading is  a Bill for act to prohibit flaring of natural gas in Nigeria and for matters connected therein  sponsored by Sen.Akpan Bassey (PDP-Akwa Ibom). ( NAN)

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