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Covid-19: Rep calls for release of inmates, convert prisons to isolation centres

by Damilola Agekameh

A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Chukwuma Umeoji, has called on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, to set inmates of correctional centres across the country free, and convert prisons to quarantine centres for patients who have tested positive for the Corona Virus.
The lawmaker representing Aguata Federal Constituency of Anambra State, on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, made the call through a press statement on Friday, March 20, 2020.
He advised government to set inmates free to avoid a possible rapid spread of the pandemic, but ensure safeguards for their return to custody after the epidemic is contained.
His words: “The impact of the virus, will be worse on large number of people in an enclosure. Nigerian prisons are overcrowded and notorious for poor hygiene standards. The spread of the virus under such environment, will be rapid and deadly.
“As a matter of urgency, the Government should carry out proper documentation of prisoners to ensure their return to prison after the end of the epidemic”.
He advised the authorities to put safeguards in place, to ensure the rep prisoners are returned after the plague, by their relatives.
He warned that if not immediately released, the prisoners infected will disease will spread it rapidly and scores will be killed.
“All prisoners Nationwide should be released and all prison facilities converted to Isolation Centres for the treatment of Corona Virus across the country. A delay will lead to severe number of casualties. The virus must be taken seriously and preventive measures, deployed to enable the national survive the pandemic”, he warned.
The lawmaker also called for reopening of land borders for pharmaceuticals to gain entry with the required drugs for Corona Virus, while advised government to ban interstate travels.
“The government should open borders to enable essential health equipment to come into the country, especially chemicals used in pharmaceutical sector”, he stated, as he also advised that “There should be a travel ban restriction plan in place for interstate movements”.
He opined that without travel restrictions and a work-at-home policy between states and the Federal government, the pandemic will be difficult to contain.
The lawmaker also urged all tiers of government to roll out incentives to health workers, including life insurance cover as a motivational package for them to fight hard and save lives

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