Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike says disbursement of funds to contain the coronavirus has become political.
On Thursday, March 26, 2020, President Buhari ordered the immediate release of a N10billion grant to the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led Lagos government and N5billion to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
“The immediate release of a 10 billion Naira grant to Lagos State, which remains the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Nigeria will enable the state increase its capacity to control and contain the outbreak, while also supporting other states with capacity-building,” Buhari had announced.
Lagos currently has 115 confirmed coronavirus cases–the highest tally in Africa’s most populous nation. Rivers has 1 case at the time of this report.
However, in a late night statement issued on Sunday, April 5, Wike said “It is quite unfortunate that the containment of coronavirus has been politicized by the federal government. While Lagos state received a grant of N10billion as a commercial hub, Rivers State as the nation’s oil and gas hub that produces a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth has not received any support from the federal government.”
Lagos shares the same political party–APC–with the center. Wike’s PDP is Nigeria’s biggest opposition platform.
“One wonders why the federal government should single out a state out of 36 states to give support. Does it mean that support will come when a state has a record of over 50 infected persons? No state should be seen as more important than any other state. This is a federal republic. No state is superior to others.
“Rivers State is entitled to support from the federal government. Every day, we are inundated with letters from the federal government to allow oil companies to fly in expatriates to drill oil. Then we ask, what is the status of those coming from Lagos? Nobody has told us their status as regards coronavirus. If they come to Rivers without us knowing their status, what will be the implication assuming they have the virus?” Wike added.
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