A former President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Professor Oyewale Tomori, on Thursday faulted the timing of the government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The virologist noted that although some progress have been made, the country could have achieved a better result if it responded timely and appropriately to the pandemic.
He, however, praised the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, for his efforts so far in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
“Congratulations to Chikwe but unfortunately, I can’t say congratulations to Nigeria because her progress has been too slow, too lopsided, too late and this is a problem we have been having by not focusing on this issue,” Professor Tomori said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He added, “There is one story we need to learn from Chikwe; Chikwe is working extra hard in a country that lives by lessons forgotten. We should not be where we are and Chikwe should not be running around doing what he is doing now at this time.
“It is a state of our unpreparedness that we are getting to where we are. By now all of the things that Chikwe is talking about at the state level should have been in place a long time ago.”
Professor Tomori believes the blame is not just for Nigerian authorities as the government at the state level also have their fair share.
He stressed that during the days of his generation, states used to be the strength of public health in the country.
The virologist decried the situation where some state governments depend on the Federal Government to run the health sector.
He, therefore, called on the state governments to live up to their responsibilities and do the needful to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Professor Tomori said, “I have an optimism that if Nigeria takes all it has to solve its problems, we will not be where we are. I don’t know why they (states) have abandoned their duties and left everything to the Federal Government.
“Where a state is asking me to beg the minister to have a vehicle for their public health in the state, something is wrong somewhere.
“You are commissioner in your state, you can’t talk and you are asking me (somebody from outside) to go and beg the minister for you, that shows you the depth of the mess we have gotten ourselves into.”
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