COVID-19: Governors express worry, to meet Wednesday

Governors of the 36 States of the Federation will be holding their 23rd virtual meeting to address the rising cases of COVID-19 infections and work out an appropriate response.

The meeting which is scheduled to hold virtually on Wednesday is expected to provide a platform for the governors to deliberate and agree on practical steps to contain further spread of the disease.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, in Abuja, on Monday.

The statement read in part, “Alarmed by the intensity of the second wave of the Covid19 pandemic, and Nigeria’s tardy commencement of inoculation that is sweeping through countries globally, the 36 governors of the federation may finally come up with a definitive pronouncement, as they will be meeting to find the way forward for the country.

“The meeting which will be the first this year, 2021, by the governors, will, as usual, be virtual, in conformity with the Covid-19 protocols. It is the 23rd of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum teleconferences. The meeting commences 2.00pm prompt but Governors are expected to start logging on fat 1.00pm.

“The Governors’ PTF Committee, headed by Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, which is charged with the responsibility of liaising between the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and the Governors’ Forum, will brief the Forum on what it needs to know on the vaccines and the way forward.”

According to the statement, Governor Okowa is expected to give a panoramic view of the second wave of the pandemic while the NGF Chairman who is also the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, will brief the Forum on his meeting with the President as well as update the Forum on all pending matters that have remained inconclusive, flowing from the previous year’s meetings.”

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According to the invitation to governors issued by the Director-General of the NGF Mr Asishana B Okauru, these matters include ALGON and FAAC deductions, external debts reconciliation (2002-2018), Stamp Duty collections in respect of the governors’ letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation, and another response to the Ministry of Water Resources regarding the lingering Water Resources Bill among others. All disbursements of funds to states on the three tranches of PAYE will also be tabled.

The statement further read, “Governors will also be updated on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability program for results for the preceding year, 2020.

“As is customary, if time permits, there will be three presentations; The Water Resources minister will brief Governors on its World Bank Support; feedback from the Federal Government on the Medium and Long Term National Development Agenda; and enhancing IGR through a harmonized Traffic Management System by Dimensions Information Technology, LLC, a non-governmental actor which is seeking the nod of state governors.“

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