Nasarawa buys cars for lawmakers amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Nasarawa buys cars for lawmakers amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the fact that Nasarawa State is among the states without a ventilator to help in the fight against coronavirus pandemic, the state governor, A

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Despite the fact that Nasarawa State is among the states without a ventilator to help in the fight against coronavirus pandemic, the state governor, Abdullahi Sule has gone ahead to buy 24 Toyota Hilux vehicles for state lawmakers, estimated at nearly N500 million, DailyTrust is reporting.

With 169 ventilators nationwide spread across only 16 states, not one single ventilator is owned by Nasarawa State even with the number of confirmed COVID-19 approaching 500 and with about 130 patients discharged after treatment and 17 deaths reported. Cost of ventilator Findings reveal that a hospital-grade ventilator cost between $25,000 (N9.175m) and $50,000 (N18.350 m), using the Central Bank’s official exchange rate of N367 for a dollar.

A respiratory expert who craved anonymity said Nigeria requires about 10,000 respirators for emergencies over the ongoing pandemic. Most of the ventilators already present in the country are in tertiary hospitals—federal medical centres and teaching hospital. He said ventilators were very important equipment, not only being used for supportive care of COVID-19 patients, but other respiratory illnesses, adding that it was important for all hospitals to have them.

Nasawara which has no reported or confirmed case of COVID-19 shares boundaries with Kaduna, Abuja, Kogi, Benue and Taraba. Abuja, Kaduna and Benue States, all of which have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Speaker of Nasarawa House of Assembly, Ibrahim Abdullahi, on Monday stated that Abdullahi gave the 24 Toyota Hilux to the lawmakers as official vehicles. At an average cost of N21m per car, they are worth a combined total of N504m.

Some Medical and Health Workers in the state on Thursday protested non-payment of their March salary by Doma local government. They threatened to embark on industrial action from Friday, if they are not paid.

Some stakeholders in Nasarawa State have faulted the purchase of the cars for the state lawmakers, stressing that the money should have been channeled towards equipping its hospitals with modern equipment like ventilators.

But Umar Angibi, the immediate past state chairman of Inter Party Advisory Committee, and now a member of All Progressives Congress, said the purported purchase of cars may appear to be irresponsible at this point in time because of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, but not necessarily an illegitimate act.
“If the resources used by the House of Assembly to acquire the vehicles are their entitlement, then let it be, after all government is a continuum,” Angibi said.

However, the state commissioner for Information, Dogo Shammah defended the go’ernor’s action, saying that the choice of car was because of the bad terrain in the state, stressing that the state has made order for ventilators and expecting delivery soon.