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Published On: Wed, Mar 18th, 2020

Reps ask FG to stop flights from China, USA, UK, Italy

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  • As FG confirms third case of Coronavirus in Lagos

  • Buhari okays postponement of National Sports Festival

  • Tijjaniyya cancels Maulud celebration

  • Advisory Council paints gloomy picture of ecomony

By Christiana Ekpa, Tobias Lengnan Dapam, Egena Sunday Ode, Albert Akota, Abuja and Ahmad Mohammed, Bauchi

The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Federal Government, the Ministry of Aviation and security agencies to immediately halt all flights from high-risk countries especially the UK, Spain, Italy, the USA, China and South Korea except Nigerian citizens who will be tested on arrival and may be quarantined if necessary
The House equally urged the Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, to in line with global best practice, postpone the National Sports Festival scheduled for Edo State and other activities with a large gathering in the interest of the nation’s health and wellbeing till further notice.
This is even as the federal government has confirmed another case of coronavirus (covid-19) in Lagos, making the total confirmed cases in the Nigeria three.
In a swift reaction, President Muhammadu Buhari had also yesterday approved the postponement of the National Sports Festival scheduled for March 21 in Edo State .
The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Health to continue to work with federal and state medical establishments to update and upgrade facilities and prepare for eventualities.
The resolutions of the House followed a motion of Matter of Urgent National Public importance moved by Hon. Luke Onofiok (Akwa-Ibom PDP) and precided over by the Speaker of the House, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila.
Moving the motion titled “urgent need for the federal government to postpone the National Sports Festival in Edo State and other large gathering” said the appreciates the place and importance of sports in national development, harmony and unity, understands the numerous ways in which sports serves as platforms for identifying new talents, building sports infrastructure, promoting friendships and preparing athletes for international competitions
“Recognizes the fact that the National Sports Festival is hosted by States and involves the participation of all states of the federation as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and this year, it is being hosted by Edo State;
“Appreciates that the Edo State government has spent substantial public funds on publicity, rehabilitation and upgrading of sporting facilities and already set to welcome other athletes
“Further appreciates the seriousness of the current global epidemic, coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has branded a Global epidemic that has so far affected almost 200,000 persons worldwide and killed over 7,000 in over 60 nations. In the United States, only the State of West Virginia is yet to report a case of coronavirus.
“Recognizes that virtually all sporting activities in the world such as the ATP (Tennis), Judo (International Judo Federation), London Marathon, NBA, EFL, Formula 1, The US Masters, Kentucky Derby, Boxing, FA Women’s Championships, FA Women’s Super League, UEFA, LaLiga, World Cup Qualifiers, Darts (The Professional Darts Corporation), and Cricket- have been cancelled or postponed due to precautions about the spread of the coronavirus, including indoor games, with schools from pre-kindergarten through universities and research centers shut down.”
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Enahire, disclosed the three confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Lagos yesterday during a press conference on covid-19 update, in Abuja.
He said the new confirmed case is a Nigerian national in her 30s, who returned from a short visit to the United Kingdom on March 1 3th.
Enahire said, the patient, upon her arrival, went into a 14 day self-isolation, and voluntarily called the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) tollfree call line, to report her condition, the moment she developed symptoms of fever and cough on March 16th.
He urged all Nigerians to maintain necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families, while identifying the measures as regularly hand wash with soap and water or use of an alcohol-based sanitiser if no water and soap is available.
Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, who announced the postponement of the National Sports Festival to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Buhari in company of the Minister of State ,Health, Adeleke Mamora, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, noted that the decision was taken as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, adding that a new date for the festival would be communicated soon.
He said: “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development because of the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival, has been in close touch and consultation with the ministry of health – particularly with both the minister of health and the minister of state, health.
“We’ve also being in consultation with the governor and deputy governor of Edo State, the LOC, and the MOC but we have had the ministry of health take the lead. Based on daily review on development, we got assurances that we could go ahead.
“But because we are dealing with a dynamic situation, this morning, we had a meeting at the ministry of health in the office of the minister of health with the minister of state, health present, myself, the permanent secretary and the Director General of NCDC.
“Shortly after the meeting which lasted for about 45 minutes, we proceeded to the presidency to brief Mr President. After briefing Mr. President, Mr President took the initiative and gave the directive that the National Sports Festival, christened Edo 2020 should be postponed as a precautionary measure against the press of COVID-19. A new date will be communicated late based on development around COVID-19.
Similarly, renowned Islamic Scholar, Leader of Tijjaniyya adherents Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi has announced the postponement of annual great Islamic Scholar of repute Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass to another period as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.
The annual event was scheduled to take place simultaneously in Abuja and Sokoto on 21 March 2020, before it was suspended by the scholar due to coronavirus outbreak.
Between five to seven million Tijjasniyya adherents used to attend the annual NYass Maulud .

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