PDP, APC exchange words over Coronavirus case

The Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address Nigerians now on the deadly coronavirus technically called COVID-19.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, alleged that it was absolute leadership failure that Buhari had not considered it imperative to show concern by directly addressing a panic-stricken nation even in the face of escalated national trepidations and conflicting reports.

He also urged the Federal Government to immediately step up its emergency response system to calm the pervading fear among Nigerians.

Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP charges President Buhari to wake up and treat the COVID-19, deservedly, as a looming national disaster, which requires a prompt and full presidential involvement at the top level.

“The party notes that at a critical time like this, Mr President ought to be at the forefront in shouldering responsibility. A presidential address would have reassured the people, reinforced government direction and multi-sectoral intervention for concerted effort to contain the scourge.

“The PDP holds that the quickest expectation of the average Nigerian is that the Federal Government should immediately step its emergency response system to calm the pervading fear among Nigerians.”

But the All Progressives Congress said it was irresponsible of any political party to seek political gain from the coronavirus epidemic.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said this in statement, in Abuja, on Sunday.

He said, “We have observed with disgust the utterances of some partisans following the report of the country’s first case of coronavirus.

“It is irresponsible of any political party to seek political gains from an issue that borders on the health and well-being of all of us.

“This is a time when real patriots put in their own positive shifts in conjunction with the government. It is not a time to spread fear and rumour.

“We call on all Nigerians to ignore people seeking to create panic through fake news. We all should rely only on the official sources of information on the coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, the Presidency, in its position on Sunday , said there was no need for Nigerians to get into a panic mode over the one case of Covid-19 confirmed so far in the country.

“President Buhari urges Nigerians not to panic about the news of this first case of Covid-19 in our country, as undue alarm would do us more harm than good”, part of a statement issued on Sunday night by his media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, read.

However, it expressed regrets that despite the measures put in place by government at Nigeria’s borders and entry ports, one case of the infection was confirmed in Lagos last week.

The Presidency stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari notes with sadness, the recent confirmation of a case of Covid-19 infection in Lagos, Nigeria.

“This was despite the ardent efforts of the government regarding preparedness and response measures put in place in our country’s borders and beyond.”

He also commended the “responses of the Federal Ministry of Health and governments of Lagos and Ogun states as well as other relevant agencies to the reported incident and calls for vigilance on the part of all citizens and responsible government agencies.”

It advised Nigerians to “strictly observe the advisories disseminated by the Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation, on the best way to prevent infection.”
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