The governors of the 36 States under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have agreed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to present the resolutions of the meetings held over the attack on Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State in Baga town and the deteriorating security situation across the country.

The NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this in a communiqué released on Thursday at the end of the 14th Teleconference meeting of the governors held on Wednesday.

The NGF Chairman, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, provided an update on: “The recent attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum and the rapidly degenerating state of security across the country.

“The Chairman stated that the NEC Ad-Hoc Committee on Security and Policing met on Tuesday 4th August 2020 with the heads of the nation’s security agencies to discuss and review the security challenges in the country. “According to the Chairman, Resolutions reached will be presented to Mr. President shortly,” the communiqué partly read.

Counterpart fund for UBE grants

The forum adopted the report of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo which recommended the immediate suspension of the requirement for State Governments to provide matching funds to access grants like Universal Basic Education (UBE).

The NGF promised to continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing UBE funds in the light of the impact of COVID-19 which had affected the capacity of State governments to provide counterpart funds required to access various national funds and statutory levies.

Doctors’ salaries

The communiqué said State governments with unresolved issues with their Resident Doctors were enjoined to meet with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) at least at the local level to agree on workable solutions in the face of the current challenges in the country. Some of the unresolved issues include unpaid salaries for doctors and the non-domestication and non-implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act, 2017.

The governors agreed that State governments will ensure appropriate health and security measures were put in place to ensure a seamless exercise by the teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) coming for the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment of the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and (SFTAS) programme expected to start from 9th August 2020.

The NGF Secretariat promised to provide Technical Assistance to the remaining five (5) States yet to publish their Audited Financial Statement (AFS). The governors also resolved that all COVID-19 Task Forces in the various States will work closely with their Palliatives Implementation Committees to target the most vulnerable population in society for the distribution of the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) palliatives, particularly in local governments that had been identified as epicentres.

The flag-off and distribution of food items to vulnerable persons in all the 36 States by the Forum with the private sector-led CACOVID which started in Borno, Edo, Enugu and Kano State on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, will hold daily in at least one State in each geopolitical zone until August 11, 2020.

Second wave of COVID-19 infection

The communiqué stated that States will also take cognizance of the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infection through the start of preparation for preventive measures. The communiqué also read: “The NGF Chairman provided an update on: “The collaboration between the NGF and the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) to organize a Webinar on Governance and Insecurity Challenges in the country was discussed.

“The Webinar will facilitate an interaction between Governors and the public to shed more light on some of the strategies deployed to tackle insecurity amidst the battle against COVID-19 in Nigeria. “The Forum received further updates from the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who briefed members on guidelines for the resumption of schools in the country.

“The Ministry has been engaging with governors through the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and through regular meetings with State Commissioners for Education.

“The Chairman of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of Delta State. Dr. Okowa briefed Governors of the measures discussed with the PTF on reopening the economy.

“His update highlighted concerns such as guidelines required to reopen schools; resumption of international flights; the need for increased testing capacity and sample collection centers in all local government areas in the country; disbursement of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and other health-related facilities; dissemination of guidelines for home care for COVID-19 cases; and the non-availability of reagents in the country due to its high demand globally.”

 

 

 

By Muideen Olaniyi,
Daily Trust

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