The House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, has rated Nigeria high on its emergency response deployed to tackle outbreak of coronavirus across the country, saying the nation handled the pandemic better than what analysts projected.
He said that though 2020 was such a turbulent year with the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria was able to weather its storm and mitigate its serious effect which included deaths and a high figure of positive cases.
In his remarks shortly after the passage of the 2021 Budget on Monday, Gbajabiamila said that Nigeria did not shrink from its responsibility during such period when lives and day-to-day activities were disrupted by outbreak of the virus.
According to him, when we resumed in January of this year, we did not foresee a world where citizens would be confined to their homes for months, unable to earn a living, denied the freedom to live full lives in the company of friends and colleagues, family, and loved ones, yet when the moment came, we did not shrink from it.
He noted that though there were areas in which lapses were visible and needed improvement from stakeholders, the country still fared well in the management of the deadly respiratory disease compared to other power nations where the virus did a lot of damage.
“Within the limits of our brutal realities, with our options limited by a scarcity of resources, by dilapidated infrastructure and outdated laws, we acted to slow the spread of disease, to treat the sick, comfort the afflicted and provide for the most vulnerable of our nation’s citizens.
“The truth is, we have done better than many believed was possible, better than many nations, even the most advanced. Our economy has taken a big hit, but through partnership with the private sector, government has been able to prevent the nightmare scenarios that some predicted.
“Members of the House, together and individually, made financial contributions to support welfare provisions for citizens. There is virtually no constituency in the country that did not feel the impact of efforts by their representatives. I commend you all, and I thank you most sincerely.
“This year we have seen that the structural inadequacies of our economy and healthcare systems, our internal security and justice architecture, have left us dangerously exposed to the risk of a complete and irreversible loss of faith in the Nigerian project by a large section of our citizenry.
“Despite spirited government efforts, our economy is still overly reliant on the sale of crude oil. Vast swathes of potential in tourism and agriculture, manufacturing and technology, media and entertainment remain untapped due to insecurity, infrastructure deficits, policy, and regulatory inconsistency”, Gbajabiamila said.