“Wonders shall never end” is what typical Nigerian elders will say after reading this news update. Reason being that the government of Nasarawa state has surprisingly bought cars worth ₦500 million for its lawmakers when the state reportedly does not have enough equipment to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
Nasarawa state government Toyota Hilux pickup trucks worth ₦500Million for lawmakers amidst COVID-19 crisis in Nigeria
Even the federal government of Nigeria had to extend the COVID-19 lockdown in FCT, Ogun, Lagos by an extra 2-weeks because of rising cases in the 3 cities. However, Nasarawa state which reportedly does not even have one Ventilator for potential cases of COVID-19 is lavishing ₦500 million on official cars for lawmakers.
According to news reports, Abdullahi Sule – the executive governor of Nasarawa state recently acquired 24 brand-new Toyota Hilux pickup trucks for lawmakers in the state. The sum total of these pickup trucks is estimated to cost nothing less than ₦500 million.
So, why is this car purchase made by the Nasarawa state government counted a big deal during this COVID-19 crisis?
First of all, the entire Nigeria has just 169 ventilators that are currently only available for patients in 16 states out of the 36 states of the nation. Now, the current status report says that COVID-19 cases have risen to 493 in a total of 20 states as of the time of writing this report. This means that 4 states currently do not have a single respiratory machine for its COVID-19 patients.
One might say that Nasarawa state is yet to have an index case of the novel Coronavirus but wouldn’t it make more sense to put such a pandemic as a top priority for now?
Other badly affected cities in Nigeria like Lagos are currently out of funds to battle the pandemic. Things have gotten to the point that private companies are now the ones helping government efforts supporting poor residents in Lagos. Just last weekend, the Sole distributor of Mitsubishi vehicles in Nigeria, Massilia Motors fed 1,000 Lagos homes amidst the COVID-19 lockdown. Do things have to get that bad in Nasarawa state before the government cuts down on its spending during this period?
The lack of functional medical equipment has even inspired some faithful Nigerian software engineers to be fixing ventilators in hospitals for free. See them in the video below;
Coronavirus Pandemic: Meet The Nigerian Software Engineers Fixing Faulty Ventilators For Free