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March 19, 202011min3130

Exclusive: Buhari to make pre-recorded address to Nigerians, Presidency source

A source among those detailed to organise a session where Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, would be put through his paces to speak to Nigerians on coronavirus has said the broadcast would be pre-recorded.
Buhari has not spoken a word in any form concerning the novel virus that has killed hundreds of thousands, causing absolute lockdown across the globe.
It emanated from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Nigeria has reported almost a dozen cases forcing shutdowns in some states already.
However, the source who craved anonymity said the speech is already been worked on together with selected experts from the Ministries of Health and Information. Vital information is being produced by the Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, CDC.
He told Daily Mail on Thursday morning that, the heat has been turned on the Presidency who were taken aback at the unanimous and bipartisan resolution on Wednesday at the red chambers. Some at the Presidency wondered why the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan allowed for such a resolution or discussion at all.
He revealed that the plan is being kept under wrap and an announcement would only be made less than 24-hours to the broadcast time.
According to him, the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, together with other government-owned electronic media like the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, would lead in the broadcast but they will all tap the broadcast from the NTA to create uniformity as usual.
Independent electronic media especially those friendly with the administration would be specifically briefed to make the transmission, he said, with full details being worked on.
He did not mention when the address to Nigerians would be made but said frantic efforts are on following the senate resolution to, make it “happen soon.”
Daily Mail reports that Buhari has a knack for keeping quiet when required to speak or address the country during difficult times.
Since coming to power in 2015, he spoke to Nigerians only twice live. The other three broadcasts were recorded.
He has spoken to Nigerians on national television just once since coming to power in 2019, that too was pre-recorded.
He has also stayed away from the Presidential Media Chat, which became a culture to hear from Nigerians. From Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo to Goodluck Jonathan, it was a frequent exercise which they kept to hear directly from Nigerians.
Daily Mail reports that the only time Buhari appeared on that media chat was during his first time. The criticisms that followed the howlers he made may have led to the cancellation.
He has equally come under intense criticisms for sitting pretty at the Presidential Villa instead of visiting site of pipeline explosion in Lagos. He incensed a lot of Nigerians including many of his supporters when he hosted the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and being shown pictures from the explosion that killed mostly school children and destroyed millions in properties.
Before the senate resolution, his aides had defended the president saying the ministers and other officials were already speaking.
But this change of position, the Presidency source said  followed belief at the presidential villa that it was “now embarrassing if we don’t get the president to speak to Nigerians in one way or the other,” as the Senate has come clean on the crisis.
In contributing to the resounding resolution on Wednesday, Oluremi Tinubu (APC – Lagos Central), said the outbreak of the disease is a wake up call for Nigerians to take personal hygiene seriously, adding that Nigerians should not go about in fear.
Ajayi Boroffice (APC – Ondo North), said because Nigeria’s borders are porous, foreign nationals now use the land borders as entry and exit route to and from Nigeria.
He, therefore, urged the Ministry of Health to immediately place a ban on citizens of countries already affected by the Coronavirus disease.
Jibrin Barau (APC – Kano North) advised authorities of churches and hotels to introduce the use of testers in identifying infected persons so as to control the spread of the dreaded disease.
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC – Niger North) said, “the issue at stake is one that calls for caution and proactive measures.”
“There are people who are having the virus and the symptoms are not there.
“For us to deal with this matter, individual contribution is key. Those who have travel to the epicenter of the disease are supposed to isolate themselves. Are they keeping to this?
“If you look at our health facilities, it is not in the best of state. Countries with good health facilities are on lockdown,” the lawmaker added.
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP – Taraba South) said, “we (Nigeria) are the largest black nation in the world, and our borders are very porous.”
“The dangers that this virus will bring upon us because of our policy will be very dangerous.
“Once you’re not a Nigerian, we should stop them at the border and ask them to return to where they are coming from,” Bwacha added.
Senator George Thompson Sekibo (PDP – Rivers East) said, “even those that have the technology to solve the problem, the virus is still spreading without respecting any person.
“Let the ministry of health come with real standard on how to behave now.
“Our airports and seaports are still open, and you don’t have the equipments to fight it.
“Let no one from this chamber travel out of here. Let us quarantine those coming from outside. Let us be more careful because we don’t have the resources to fight it,” the law maker appealed.
Sam Egwu (PDP – Ebonyi North), urged Senators who travel out of the country to quarantine themselves before coming to the chamber to attend plenary proceedings.
Senator Yahaya Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC – Kwara Central) advocated for more resources to enable Nigeria establish test Centres across states.
He stressed that the availability of funds will ensure effective tracking, testing and quarantining of anyone who comes in contact with persons identified to be infected with the disease.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks called for improved measures to be taken so as prevent uncontrollable outbreak of the disease in Nigeria.
He cautioned that, “even if our environment is hostile to Coronavirus, we need to be extremely careful. We won’t know when it adjusts to the environment and become very potent.”
The Senate in its prayers, accordingly, urged the Federal Government and Nigerians to keep abreast of all measures and developments related to Coronavirus globally.
Similarly, the Upper Chamber while urging the National Assembly to give the federal government full support to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread, called for a Special Intervention Fund to combat the deadly disease.

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