Non-screening of chartered flight passengers worries Senators

Lawmakers accuse NIWA of dubious contracts

 

The Senate on Thursday expressed worry over non-screening of chartered flight passengers at the airports, fearing it may be a loose end to import the coronavirus into the country.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, said the absence of health services at the private terminal could make it for easy movement of infected persons into the country.

The Senate, therefore, ordered the health ministry to deploy health officials to the private tarmac and conduct screening of VIPs on chartered flight.

It also urged the ministry of health and the Director of Port Health Services, Dr. Morenike Alex-Okoh, to ensure that ambulances are provided for the Port Harcourt and Kano International airports for evacuation.

It subsequently charged the ministry to furnish the Senate with the details of her budget to show how it has complied with provisions of all equipment to contain the virus.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government is considering a N620 million special intervention fund to monitor, detect and contain the dreaded coronavirus.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, revealed this during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Health on the level of national preparedness to prevent coronavirus from coming into the country.

He said the ministry on Thursday submitted a memo proposing for the release of the sum of N620 million to take proactive measures to contain the virus.

The minister, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, in company of Dr. Morenike Alex-Okoh and the Director-General, National Centre for Disease Control, said already, the sum of N71 million was released to the Port Health Services for operations.

Alex-Okoh, in her submission, said the Port Health Services was restricted from operating in the chartered flight area thus excluding the passengers there from being screened.

“We have challenged with the VIP who fly in aboard chartered flight at the private terminal. We are making arrangement to move in there by this weekend. We were not there before now, we were not allowed by the terminal operators to be there,” she said.