The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has endorsed an inter-state lockdown in the country for another two weeks to contain spread of coronavirus among states of the country.
Chairman of NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this after its teleconference meeting, maintained that only essential services would be permitted during the period.
He said members were briefed on the rapidly evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and coordination efforts with the federal government, multilateral and bilateral partners, and the private sector through the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
Lamenting that the virus has spread to over 25 states with increasing evidence of community transmission, Fayemi said the governors endorsed decentralisation of the COVID-19 response as the best way of containing the spread of the virus in communities.
Meanwhile, indications have emerged that Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano is under pressure to use 50 per cent of security votes to provide palliatives in a bid to cushion the effects of coronavirus in the state.
Governor Obiano had donated 200 bags of 10kg rice to elderly people from 70 years and above in the 179 communities of the state, waived toll fees for tricycle operators and promised to give 400 bags of rice to youths across the state, but some individuals are clamouring for more, insisting that the state receives over N1.2b monthly as security vote.
An Awka-based socialite and comedy artiste, Aiza Nwosu and a philosopher, Dr. Elo Aforka, told The Guardian that if Governor Obiano redirects about 50 per cent of the security votes to provide palliatives, it would go a long way in cushioning the effect of the lockdown.
Nwosu and Aforka pointed out that Obiano had always spent his security votes on preventing and combating crimes, insisting that channeling 50 per cent of it to preventing criminal tendencies on the part of the youth was a welcomed development.
They lamented that the lockdown orders have forced some youth to take to crime to survive, stressing that a further extension of the stay-at-home directive would escalate activities of hoodlums in the state.
But in a swift reaction, the Commissioner of Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba said the crash of oil price in the international market would likely take the federal and state governments to the drawing board to rejig their budgets.
Adinuba pointed out that Anambra State was not immune from seeking budgetary review in order to do the needful, including reviewing the security votes, if necessary, but stressed that the governor could not unilaterally change the figures.