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Reps urges FG to set up N15b emergency fund

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to set up a strategic N15 billion Coronavirus Emergency Fund for universities and other tertiary institutions.

It said this would enable such institutions to respond to the impact of the pandemic on academic, research and administrative operations.

The Green Chamber also advised the government to immediately establish an Infectious Diseases Research Institute in six selected Federal Government universities across the six geo-political zones.

The institutes should get specific research funding from the Federal Government, the House said.

It also urged Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions to launch a Coronavirus Students Emergency Fund, where indigent and vulnerable students can apply for student emergency grant to enable them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

The House urged the Federal Government to empower some universities to build capacity for Coronavirus testing to enable them meet up with the national demand due to rising number of Coronavirus cases.

These resolutions followed the passage of a motion by Steve Azaiki, Ndudi Elumelu and eight others with the title: “Need to Set-Up a N15 billion Coronavirus Emergency Fund for Nigerian Universities and Tertiary Institutions.” The resolutions were adopted by members without dissent.

The parliamentarian also took cognisance of the efforts by some Nigerian institutions, like University of Benin (UNIBEN) Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU) and Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), in contributing to the fight against COVID-19, where researchers have produced clinically tested low-cost and effective ventilators.

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