State governors in Nigeria’s Northern region have said that they cannot sustain the economic impact of the lockdown targeted at stopping the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday extended the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and the FCT by another 14 days in a bid to help stop the spread of the pandemic.
States in the North, who adopted a movement restriction strategy earlier, have now said they cannot continue with the move despite having the largest share of palliatives from the Federal Government.
Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong, in a statement said the lockdown “have eaten deep into the pockets of the states”.
The statement reads, “Each state would adopt the measure suitable to its setting because total lockdown of the region will come at a very high cost since most of its citizens are farmers who need to go to farms since the rains have started.
“Another issue discussed by the Northern governors was the issue of palliatives from the Federal Government where they regretted that so far no state in the region had received a dime as special allocation despite the fact that some of them had recorded cases while others were making frantic efforts to prevent any outbreak, as well as prepare against any eventuality.
“This they observed has eaten deep into the pockets of the states as they have spent a lot of money already and may not be able to sustain this for a long time.
“Since prevention is better than cure, they canvassed that the Federal Government grant them some special funds just as it has done to other states.
“The Northern governors lamented that the region has no testing centre, which is very disturbing. They resolved to again liaise with the Federal Government to ensure that each state at least gets one testing centre while highly populated ones get two.
“The governors also discussed the economic impact of COVID-19 on the region and decided that they needed to take a holistic look at the economic prospects of the region with a view to repositioning it for less reliance on federal allocation and to prepare for the future by diversifying to areas of comparative advantage such as agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and human capital development.”
– Oodua Voice