Hon. Benjamin Kalu
By Raphael Ekpang
As the number of Coronavirus cases keeps increasing in Nigeria by the day, the spokesperson of the Nigeria House of Representatives, Hon Benjamin Kalu has advised Nigerians to adhere strictly to every precautionary measure put in place by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in partnership with the federal ministry of health.
Hon Kalu representing Bende Federal Constituency of Abia state at the lower Chambers of the National Assembly said, the Covid-19 pandemic has no respect for status nor does it has respect for countries, therefore, he urged every Nigerians to humble themselves within this period the world as well as Nigeria is facing the pandemic crisis.
In an interaction with journalists in his office on Tuesday in Abuja, the lawmaker said, “It is important to note that the virus is for citizens of the whole world, not Nigeria alone. The pandemic is affecting the big countries, it’s also affecting the small countries the same manner.”
In his words, “The pandemic does not respect the social status, economic status or political status. So, because the biological composition of members of the House of Reps is not different from you that is interviewing me now or the man who carries bag around, nothing absolutely nothing should make him or her from not passing through that security measure which the NCDC in partnership with federal ministry of health has put in place to make our place better.
“For speculations going the round that some lawmakers by passed the scanner at the airport, it can’t be true because the way the scanner is position, you must pass it first before you meet the immigration officers, so there is no how one can bypass it. But if anyone can prove that it actually happened they should come with evident at least the CCTV is there for pictures of those who bypassed to be exposed. I personally went through the screening myself and so i believed others did too.”
“So, I encourage Nigerians; parliamentarians or not, governors or not, commissioners, ordinary man on the street, market women or whatever you call yourself if there are measure put in place within this period that we are facing this crisis, I plead with you to be humble enough to make use of them, if not for your sake for the sake of your neighbour, your brother, parent or children,” he concluded.
On the purported internal memo addressed to the speaker of the House of Reps, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila from Mr. Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari urging Gbajabiamila to direct members of the house who were alleged to have avoided screening at the airport upon returned from abroad to go for coronavirus test, he said, Nigerians should disregard the purported memo, stressing that the authenticity of a document is drawn from the source.
“Attaching importance to that purported letter regarding where it’s coming from, I think it’s something we don’t have to do. You were all at the gallery today (Tuesday) if the letter was actually coming from the said source the speaker would have announced that we have a correspondence from the presidency and would read it on the floor.”
Though, Hon Kalu admitted that the purposive interpretation of parts of the content was useful-that it’s raised the consciousness that there is instrument in place where if you come, it is safer to make use of.
”Whether it was coming from the Chief of Staff to president Buhari or it was addressed to the speaker of the house of reps or to the senate, it’s irrelevant that is why I am pleading with honourable members not to see it as an attempt to castigate aspersion on the integrity of members of the house of reps.
He added, “the letter was meant to showcase the effort the executive is making to inform that there is a screening machine at the airport that when ‘you come, make use of it,” he concluded.