The Governors of the 36 States of the Federation have decided to discuss the legality or otherwise of the power of the President to declare lockdown of states with the Coronavirus Disease with the Presidency.
The Governors stated this in a communique issued after their meeting under the umbrella of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum on Thursday over issues pertaining to the development around COVID-19 in the country.
In the communique of the teleconference meeting, signed by the Forum’s Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governors said they discuss with the Presidential Committee on COVID-19, headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Sunday declared a lockdown in Lagos and Ekiti States following the bid to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
But the Governors in the communique said: “Members also discussed the legality or otherwise of lockdowns in other states around the country and resolved to maintain the status quo until the Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State resolves the matter with the Presidential Committee on COVID-19.”
The governors, according to Fayemi, also resolved to leverage on the lockdown situations to send essential food items across borders as part of the palliatives so that perishables produced in one state get to states that need them unhindered.
The NGF also ]called for urgent fiscal measures to safeguard liquidity of state governments as the country continues with efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
The communiqué said members of the NGF at their second teleconference meeting deliberated on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and resolved as follows: “Following a briefing from the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on fiscal measures taken by the Federal Government to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum called for urgent fiscal measures to safeguard the liquidity of state governments.
“This include the acceleration of an arrangement to suspend all state deductions and restructure all debt service payments on Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria-owned debts.
“Members also received briefing from the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, on stimulus incentives from the Federal Government to support vulnerable households across states cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods in the coming months.
“Governors committed to leading the effort through state focal persons in charge of social protection to ensure that palliatives, including food and cash transfers, reach the most vulnerable population in all states.”
Fayemi disclosed that the next meeting of the forum would be convened on April 8.