As the coronavirus takes hold, the Punch newspaper has reported that Nigeria does not have up to 500 ventilators across the 36 states and Abuja. The newspaper sent correspondents around Lagos State, which, with 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases of Nigeria’s 40 as at the night of 23 March, does not have enough ventilators to manage coronavirus patients who may present with breathing problems. The president of the Nigerian Medical Association, Francis Faduyile, explained that the appliance for artificial respiration is necessary when treating severely ill patients; however, he said that he did not know how many ventilators are available nationally. The Punch listed some hospitals visited and came up with 15 ventilators at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja; eight at the Alimosho General Hospital, Igando; five at the Federal Medical Centre in Ebute Metta; four at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital all in Lagos; two at the Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu; and four at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City. The Medical Director of Gbagada General Hospital, Kaka Adeleke directed the paper to the Federal Ministry of Health for answers, while the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Chris Bode, refused to disclose how many ventilators were available in the hospital.
The FG has announced the closure of all of Nigeria’s land borders for four weeks as a measure to check the spread of the coronavirus. The weekly Federal Executive Council has also been suspended “until further notice”. Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation and chairman of the presidential task force on COVID-19, announced this on Monday evening. He said the council of state meeting earlier scheduled for Thursday has also been postponed. All Abuja and Lagos residents were strongly advised to stay at home, avoid mass congregation of any kind as well as non-essential outings. Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Mohammed, has ordered the suspension of all court sittings except in matters that are urgent, for 14 days because of COVID-19.
The stalemate that followed last week’s FAAC meeting may have been settled, with the announcement of the sharing of about ₦581.566 billion to the Federal, States and Local Governments for February 2020. The decision was announced at the end of the rescheduled meeting of the FAAC held in Abuja on Monday. Nigeria’s Accountant General said the money comprised Statutory Revenue, Value Added Tax (VAT), Exchange Gain, and revenue from Forex Equalisation Account. The AG said the balance in the Excess Crude revenue Account stood at about $72.221 million. Details of the allocations showed gross statutory revenue for the month of February 2020 was about ₦466.058 billion, which was lower by ₦59.195 billion than the ₦525.253 billion received in January 2020. Last week, the meeting of the Committee failed to reach a consensus on the amount to be shared for the month. The meeting, attended by the Finance Commissioners and Accountants General of the 36 states, their FG counterparts and the FCT rejected the amount presented for sharing by the revenue-generating agencies. However, after a second look at the revenue proposal in view of the poor revenue accrual from oil export and as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, representatives of the states had no option than to accept what was presented, despite that it was far below the benchmark revenue approved last year.
Nigeria has sustained its first coronavirus death. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confirmed this on Monday. The fatality was a 67-year-old male, named as Suleiman Achumugu, a former managing director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, who returned home following medical treatment in the United Kingdom. According to the NCDC, Achumugu had underlying medical conditions- multiple myeloma and diabetes and was undergoing chemotherapy. There are 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, and two have been discharged. The NCDC also announced five new cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria including two in the Federal Capital Territory, two in Lagos State and one in Edo State. Meanwhile, giving an update on COVID-19 cases, health minister, Osagie Ehinare said the FG would publish names of people who refused to go into self-isolation after returning to Nigeria from countries with a high burden of the coronavirus. Ehanire said that 179 persons had contact with the Italian who brought the first case of coronavirus to Nigeria.