President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, has raised an urgent public health alarm to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, informing him of the arrogance of some Nigerian lawmakers towards health officials.
Mr Kyari, in a letter to Femi Gbajabiamila on March 21, said the minister of health had drawn his attention to repeated violation of screening procedure at the nation’s airports.
“As you are aware, these airport screenings are our primary line of defence and refusal by any citizen to subject to these tests is a threat to our nation,” the chief of staff wrote.
The letter surfaced on social media Monday morning, although it was unclear who first posted it.
Mr Kyari admonished Mr Gbajabiamila to immediately rein in the excesses of federal lawmakers and ask all those who have refused to submit to medical test for COVID-19 to report themselves at the screening centres across the country.
The letter did not specifically name the lawmakers that declined screening upon returning from a foreign trip.
A spokesperson for Mr Gbajabiamila, Lanre Lasisi, did not return calls seeking comments about the letter.
It was unclear why the minister of health failed to contact the head of the lower chamber of parliament directly once he became aware of the matter. He could not be immediately reached to comment for this story.
The seriousness of the matter may have compelled the chief of staff to the president to write to write Mr Gbajabiamila.
Nigeria currently has 35 cases of COVID-19 infections, as at Monday morning, with health officials warning citizens to maintain social distancing and isolate themselves if they had recently visited places with high number of infections.