Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi said that the state is taking proactive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic because Nasarawa shares boundaries with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),Kaduna and Benue states, that have already recorded confirmed cases of the virus.
Engineer Sule stated this while playing host to a delegation from the Nasarawa State Traditional Council, led by the Emir of Lafia, HRH, Justice Sidi Bage (rtd), at the Government House, on Thursday.
The Governor informed the traditional rulers, who were at the Government House, to donate money towards the fight against coronavirus, that even though the state is yet to record a single case of COVID-19, Nasarawa could not afford to pretend as if the pandemic does not exist.
He disclosed that as part of the proactive steps being taken by his administration aimed at protecting the people of the state, a facility built to house persons displaced by flood, located in Shabu, will be partially converted to a 300-bed isolation centre.
Engineer Sule further revealed that already some private sector individuals have decided that they will assist the state towards setting up a standard isolation centre.
The Governor equally informed the royal fathers of the ongoing effort to complete the Diagnostic Infectious Diseases Centre, located in the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), started by the previous administration of Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, in order for the state to be fully prepared against not only coronavirus but any other similar challenge.
He explained that his administration is working hard to ensure completion of the project, especially that it has already secured goodwill from institutions and private sector individuals who expressed willingness to assist the state to finish work at the centre.
Engineer Sule stated that, so far, the past Senator Al-makura administration has expended close to N500m on the construction of the building housing the centre but that it will require additional N2bn to complete and fully equip the centre.
Commenting on the total locked down imposed in Karu Local Government Area, the Governor commended the Etsu Karu, HRH Pharmacist Luka Panya Baba, Chairman of the council, Hon. Samuel Akala, as well as other stakeholders, for ensuring full compliance with the locked down.
He however noted that security has to be beefed up in the area to ensure that residents comply by the social distancing regulation.
“We don’t have one positive, confirmed case yet, but the way Nasarawa State is taking it, is like we are worse than Lagos. The reason is exactly what the Emir of Nasarawa said. We are surrounded by states that already have infected people.
“If that is the case, Nasarawa should not pretend as if there is no disease like that. That is why we are doing everything possible to see how we can protect our people by taking all the proactive steps,” the Governor stated.
Speaking on the donations received by the government, N2.5m from the traditional rulers and N5m from the Multiverse Mining Company, Engineer Sule promised that the monies will go straight into a dedicated account for fighting COVID-19, assuring that it will be judiciously used to assist citizens of the state going for coronavirus test, patients going for treatment, as well as provide palliatives for people who may face challenges as a result of measures taken by government to combat the spread of the pandemic.
Earlier, Emir of Nasarawa, HRH Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril, who spoke on behalf of the traditional council, described the situation of the state as precarious considering that Abuja, Kaduna and Benue states have all recorded positive cases of coronavirus.
The royal father said members of the council thought it wise to give their contribution to support the effort of government to fight the pandemic.