The Senate leadership has directed senators who recently returned from an official trip from Europe to go for coronavirus test immediately.
Members of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream returned to Nigeria this week from a three-day international training programme, organised by Skills and Career Support Centre in London.
The programme started on March 13, and ended on Sunday, March 15.
Addressing journalists in Abuja after plenary on Thursday, the Senate spokesperson, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, said the affected senators had been asked to go for test.
He said, “Senate President urged those that just returned from foreign trip to do the test from tomorrow because as leaders we should show example to others.”
Akwashiki said the leadership of the Senate would meet with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), if he failed to address Nigerians on the issue of coronavirus.
He said, “I want to believe that in the next one week, if he didn’t address the nation, the leadership of the Senate will engage the executive arm of government because it is a serious issue.
“I want to ask for a little patient with the President to address the nation.”
He said some senators during the closed session advocated the immediate closure of the National Assembly and the suspension of plenary but that the Senate President said it would be a hasty action.
Earlier at plenary, Lawan announced the decision of the Senate to suspend public hearings and restrict access to its chamber over coronavirus.
Lawan said, “The Senate resolves to suspend all public hearings till further notice as a result of COVID-19.
“In addition, the Senate gallery will remain closed to the public till further notice including excursions from schools and organisations from Tuesday, 24th of March, 2020,” Lawan said.
Meanwhile, the Presidency rose in defence of Buhari’s alleged silence on the coronavirus, especially his failure to address the nation like other world leaders had done.
The Presidency said his silence did not mean “complacency” as he had activated all relevant government agencies to respond adequately to the pandemic.
His media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, in a statement, said, “To prevent the spread of cases imported into Nigeria, the President has already ordered the restriction of travel from 13 countries, each with more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Government has also suspended visas issued to nationals of these countries.”
The Presidency insisted that the regime was on top of the situation, using all means available, including government-owned media, to sensitise Nigerians.
On measures taken to cushion the effects of coronavirus, the Presidency stated, “The President instructed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to reduce the pump price of fuel. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a crash in the global price of crude oil, and the President decided that every Nigerian should benefit from this. Subsequently, the NNPC announced a N20 deduction, and the pump price of fuel has now been reduced from N145 per litre to N125 per litre.
“The CBN on Monday announced a credit relief of N1.1tn to businesses affected by the pandemic. The bank has also established a facility for household, small and medium enterprises and announced a reduction of interest rates for loans from 9 per cent to 5 per cent.”