Image result for Coronavirus: Senate uncovers high exportation of face-masks, summons health minister

The Senate, on Thursday, disclosed that following the outbreak of Coronavirus in China and a few other countries, that face-masks have become the most sought after commodity in Nigeria.
It affirmed that over 100 million face-masks are being exported to Asia using the Murtala Mohammed International Airport located in Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport as exportation routes.
It, therefore, resolved to summon the Minister of Health, Osagie Emmanuel Ohanire.
The upper chamber said the health minster would also brief the lawmakers over the preparation and precautionary measures established to prevent the infection of the deadly Coronavirus in the country.
It also charged the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), to urgently stop the exportation of surgical face-masks from Nigeria to Asia and other countries affected by the dreaded Coronavirus.
Futher, the upper chamber urged the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Immigration Service and other relevant government authorities to strengthen port health regulatory services in all entry ports across the country to check the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria.
These resolutions were reached following the consideration of an adopted motion sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah representing Anambra South Senatorial district.
In his lead debate, Ubah said, “Over the last three weeks, face-masks have become the most sought after commodity in Nigeria with over 100 million face-masks being unpatriotically exported to Asia using the Murtala Mohammed Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport.
The lawmaker added that the exportation of these face-masks have led to a surge in the market prices.
In his words, “As at 5th of November, 2019, stores that usually sell one piece of face-mask for N10 now sell it for N80, while a pack consisting of 50 pieces has now skyrocked from N500 to N3,000; with a carton consisting of 40 packs also hiked from N20,000 to N120,000.
“It has now become a booming trade for illicit traders aided by airport officials in Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and Port Harcourt International Airport to unpatriotically export face-masks to China, India and other affected countries.
“Chinese companies have sent their agents to look for medical face-masks in Nigeria and other African countries”, adding that “India and other countries are mass producing the face-masks in order to curb this deadly trend.”
DAILY POST recalls that the World Health Organization, WHO, has recorded 565 deaths with 28,276 cases of infected persons.
Consequently, the Senate urged the Nigerian Customs Service to impose strict penalties and heavy fines on anybody trying to export surgical face-masks within the period of the Coronavirus outbreak.
It also mandated the Health Ministry and other relevant agencies to launch a sensitization and awareness campaign on how to prevent an outbreak of the virus in the country.

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