The Presidency has written Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, accusing some members of the House refusing to comply with airport screening procedures against spread of the deadly Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
The affected members according a letter by Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari to the Speaker, recently returned from foreign trips back to Nigeria, describing their actions as posing serious threat to the safety of Nigerians.
Kyari in the letter dated 21st March, 2020 informed Speaker Gbajabiamila of information from the Minister of Health to the effect that his colleagues were breaching the screening procedures put in place by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, urging Gbajabiamila to direct his colleagues who recently returned from foreign trips to immediately comply with the screening procedure put in place by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“It has been brought to the Honourable Minister of Health, recently reported to this office that some members of the House of Representatives are refusing to subject themselves to medical screening at airports.
“As you are aware, these airport screenings are our primary line of defense and refusal by any citizen to subject to these tests is a threat to our nation.
“Accordingly, you are kindly requested to direct all members of the House of Representatives who returned to Nigeria from foreign trips to report themselves to the nearest NCDC test centre with immediate effect”, the letter read.
Spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu in his reaction to media enquiries on the matter however described as unpatriotic, those that may have exhibited such behaviour
He said airport officials should take advantage of cctv cameras in the airport to identify out such members, so they could be traced for the necessary action
Benjamin Kalu, told The Nation it would be unpatriotic for anybody to refuse to go through the screening process.
Kalu said since there are cameras at the airport, official should go through the camera to identify all those who returned to the country recently and refused to through the screening so that they can be traced, describing the letter as a wake up call for all Nigerians.
“There is a screening process at the airport that is supposed to be obeyed by every patriotic citizen of this country, irrespective of your status. It doesn’t matter whether you are the President of the country, a Senator or a member of the House (of Representatives), or a governor.
“Health is very important. If yours is not important to you, that of others is important to them and any negligent act by being careless might affect a whole lot of Nigerians. The call from the Presidency through the Chief of Staff is potentially a wake up call.
“The House will not feel that he was trying to pine on them what they are not. If there are those who did it, they should desist. Whether you are a House of Representatives member or not, it doesn’t matter. Everybody is expected to subject himself. I am sure he sent that same letter to the Senate. It could be Ministers or Senators. There is nothing wrong about that”, he said.