Nigerian Minister of Health, Dr. Odagie Ehanire says there is a need for both the government and the citizens to renew pact for the citizens to heed the health advisories issued to prevent the increasing spread of COVID-19.
The minister who was a guest lecturer at the Executive Intelligence Management Course (EIMC) 13 of the Department of State Services (DSS) held at the National Institute of Security Studies (NISS), Abuja made the recommendation. The title of his lecture was ‘The coronavirus pandemic: How prepared was Nigeria?’
According to Ehanire, “COVID-19 reveals that collaboration and cooperation between the governed and governing are vital and have never been so important and desirable as with this outbreak. It appears that there is a relationship between infection and fatality rates on the one hand and the level of collaboration between state and population, on the other hand, looking at the global picture. Therefore, we need to intensify this relationship so that the population takes ownership of the response. “
He admitted that although Nigeria has a well-written influenza pandemic response plan, we were not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic just as no other country in the world was prepared for it, as global events have shown. “We were not prepared… no one knew what to expect,” he added.
On the level of the country’s preparedness to handle the pandemic now, Dr. Ehanire stated that Nigeria is much better prepared and is still preparing and that the present situation is not out of hand. “COVID-19 is still an unfolding global pandemic and Nigeria has not reached its peak of transmission. Our high population and population density, along with previous mentioned conditions and challenges, give reasons for apprehension but also make accurate predictions difficult.”
Dr. Ehanire who expressed delight at the level of compliance to the non-pharmaceutical measures of social distancing and wearing of masks among the participants called for intensified efforts at curbing the virus as health is a national security issue.
The event which is an annual event organised by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) had the theme: Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea: Issues and challenges for international trade, national security and sustainable development of member states. Participants were drawn from Military, Para-Military, Law Enforcement, Security and Intelligence as well as other federal government agencies strategic to the security infrastructure of the nation.