Honourable Benjamin Kalu, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs has called on Federal Government to arrest and prosecute legislators who refuse to be screened for the deadly Coronavirus disease.
This is coming after Abba Kyari, President Buhari’s Chief of Staff informed the Speaker, House of Representatives that some lawmakers evaded screening at the nation’s international airports upon their arrival from COVID-19 high risk countries.
Abba Kyari in the letter ordered that the legislators who refused to be screened should report at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) office immediately for medical tests.
Reacting to this directive, Hon Benjamin Kalu said any legislator who puts others at risk by refusingto undergo screening should be arrested and prosecuted by the federal government.
“There is a screening process at the airport that is supposed to be obeyed by every patriotic citizen of this country irrespective of your status. It doesn’t matter if you are the President of the country, a Senator, member of the House or a governor.
“Health is very important. If yours is not important to you, that of others is important to them and any act of being careless might affect a whole lot of Nigerians.
“The call from the Presidency through the Chief of Staff is potentially a wake-up call. The House will not feel that he was trying to pin on them what they are not. If there are those who did it, they should desist, whether you are a House of Representative member or not, it doesn’t matter. Everybody is expected to subject himself. I am sure he sent that same letter to the Senate. It could be Ministers or Senators.
“There is nothing wrong about that. Yes, I have seen that letter being circulated online. What I am taking away from that letter is that people should make efforts to comply with this particular health policy and I do not see anything wrong with that letter.
“Adding my voice to what the Chief of Staff said, Members, Senators or whoever you are, comply with the simple instruction because this virus is real and does not care about your status. So, let us humble ourselves, wait a few minutes and pass through the checks.
“There is nothing humiliating about going into isolation if need be. You must save your family, friends and the people you work with. I think it is the patriotic thing to do and I commend the Chief of Staff to the President for raising that alarm and writing that letter. People should not misinterprete the letter because it is not an attack on the House of Representatives.
“The content of the letter is what should be taken which is that everyone should be careful no matter who you are.”
Kalu who returned from a trip last week disclosed that he subjected himself to all the required medical procedures.
“I carried my hand sanitizer and when I came in, I went through the process. The (health personnel) are very respectful and professional about what they do. I don’t know why anybody should claim to be a member of this or that and not subject himself or herself to such screening.
“The truth is that it is unpatriotic for you not to pass through the screening. It is unpatriotic to the nation and such persons should be penalized. They should be arrested. Those people who pass through there without screening should be arrested and be properly checked before being released so that we don’t allow anyone who has this virus into circulation. We don’t even know who has this virus right now and so, we have to take extra care.”