By Ahmad Lawan

Distinguished Colleagues, it is a great pleasure to welcome you back to this hallowed chamber.

The world has been on lockdown in the last couple of months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has unsettled economies, affected the way we relate to each other and disrupted calendars of activities across different sectors.

Government has responded well under the recommendations of scientists and experts.

Our sessions have been interrupted, but we have sustained our interventions and collaborations with other arms and agencies of government in the concerted bid to mitigate the damage from the pandemic. We will continue in our efforts in the interest of our good health, the well-being of our people and the sustainable development of our nation.

The Senate has convened today to enable us to sustain work on solutions and to ensure that the health crisis does not create further problems that might be much more difficult to deal with.

This pandemic has killed thousands of citizens across the world. We have also lost many of our dear compatriots. One of them is the Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mallam Abba Kyari. We condole with President Mohammadu Buhari (GCFR) on this painful loss, just as we mourn other citizens who have died because of the disease.

We pray the Almighty Allah will give their families the fortitude to bear the loss and grant them Aljana Fidaus. It is our additional prayers that we shall be able to mitigate the continuous spread of the virus, so we can regain our normal life and stay with the onerous business of nation building.

Let me commend your collective and individual efforts in supporting the people these uncertain times. Your counsels and gifts during this period are well documented. Kindly continue with this support, while educating them on the importance of social distancing, personal hygiene, and to avoid large gatherings. Citizens need to comply with measures like use of facial mask and reduction in movements until the virus is gone.

It is also important we educate them on the guidelines and protocols of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on reporting suspected cases. The task before us is imperative and the responsibility of the legislator is even more important because of our closeness to the people.

The pandemic has affected our budget for this year, not just because of falling oil prices, but also because it has forced a reduction in economic activities, leading to an enormous loss of revenue. We have been working with the executive on areas of adjustments for a more realistic implementation, and our resumption today will lead to a quicker resolution of some of our decisions.

We are confident that we shall soon overcome this crisis, like previous health emergencies. All hands will however have to be on deck to register a quicker and more resounding success.

Distinguished colleagues, it is on this note that I welcome you to this plenary.

God bless us all.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

Senator Lawan is the President of the Senate. He made this address today upon resumption of senate plenary from the covid-19-induced pandemic

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