The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that he has established a Covid-19 Strategic Response Team (CSRT) with a broad mandate to develop interventions and reforms and also to update the Legislative Agenda to reflect the post-Covid-19 realities and priorities.
Gbajabiamila who revealed this in his address at the emergency session of the House today stated that the Strategic Response Team would be supported by a group of technical experts, private sector leaders and representatives.
He added that their experience and expertise would ensure that the policy proposals presented to the House were rigorously grounded in a fact-based reality.
The Speaker noted that there were no longer any sacred cows, protected spaces or classes saying “every area of our national health policy, economic policy, tax policy, education policy and security architecture are now on the table for reform.”
He further said, “This House of Representatives is ready, and I trust that we will find allies in government and across our country who are prepared to make the changes that our country needs to survive, recover and thrive.”
He observed that one month since the House last sat in session, the coronavirus had infected over 1000 of the countrymen, forty (40) of whom had died.
According to him, “Our hearts are heavy with the burden of loss. The House of Representatives extends sincere condolences to the families who have lost loved ones. We pray for the peaceful repose of the dearly departed and wish the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the loss.
“The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has thus far responded to the present challenges with equanimity. The House applauds President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for appointing a Presidential Taskforce on Covid -19 composed of some of the best and brightest of our nation.
“We especially recognise the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekwuazu, whose calm and steady presence has been a comforting constant. We also recognise the Chairman of the Taskforce, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha who worked to ensure that the Taskforce remains committed to its mandate in the service of the Nigerian people.
“At a time when the social welfare demands on the public purse are higher than they have ever been, our present reality calls for nothing short of a wholesale reform of our governing structures, systems and processes.
“It is in preparing for this new reality that I have established a Covid-19 Strategic Response Team (CRST) with a broad mandate to develop interventions and reforms and also to update the Legislative Agenda to reflect our post-Covid realities and priorities.”
He pointed out that as the nation contends with the challenges of the pandemic; it mustn’t lose sight of the plight of her citizens in foreign lands who suffer harassment and abuse at the hands of their hosts.
“A few weeks ago, the House intervened in the matter of Nigerian nationals in dire situation in China. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has been consistent in his defence of the rights of Nigerians abroad and the House commends his efforts. Yet, there are still reports of ongoing mistreatment of Nigerians in China.
“I call once more on the government of the Peoples Republic of China to ensure that Nigerians and people of African descent resident in China receive the human right protections to which all citizens of the world are entitled”, he concluded.
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