By Temitope Akintoye,
Following an increase in cases of the novel coronavirus infection in Nigeria, former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, has disclosed that his company, Priam Group, would donate N50 million to fund palliative measures for Nigerians, with the aim to help reduce sufferings that could occur as a result of current developments in the country.
He also urged the federal government to make provision for a monthly allowance of N10,000 palliative fund, to mitigate hardship currently experienced by Nigerians due to sudden and necessary life changes which were occasioned by incidence of the deadly global pandemic.
Atiku made the appeal after considering the directives announced by Federal and State Government that includes closure of schools, markets, and others, as well as the mandatory sit-at-home orders which were issued to civil servants and private workers in the country,
The former Vice-President explained that the compulsory sit-at-home orders had closed means of income for many, same as had the closure of some businesses which usually garnered crowded patronages, such as clubs, hotels, gym centers, and others, and that the economic downturn which was already being faced by the country as a result of the deadly global pandemic incidence, would be compounded by the negative economic effects of the preventive measures on Nigerians.
The former presidential aspirant, who lauded the moves by several states government and the Buhari-led federal government to implement such social distancing directives with the aim to curb further spread of coronavirus in the country, added that it was also necessary to provide buffer measures for the effects of such protocols on the polity and that the monthly payment of a stipend to each Nigerian would go a long way in reducing sufferings of people.
He made his opinion known through a statement released to newsmen on Wednesday, stating that though the federal government had shown great impulse in its fight against the pandemic in Nigeria, it would also be to the benefit of the people if such alleviation methods could also be implemented.
Furthermore, Atiku urged that the rule of law should be followed in implementation of his advised palliative scheme, saying that time had come for the National Assembly to reconvene in remotely held emergency session so that it could discourse, decide and legislate on an adequate Stimulus Package Act aimed at reducing Nigerians’ economic shortfalls, pending resolution of the nationwide health crisis.
“A large percentage of our people do not have the financial capacity to withstand long periods of self-isolation and even lockdown. It is, therefore, incumbent on the Federal and state governments to provide palliatives to the Nigerian people to enable them to survive, even as they abide by these necessary measures put in place for their own safety,”
“At approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for foodstuff to each household, among other palliative measures, with no one left behind. It is thus time for the National Assembly to reconvene in an emergency session, perhaps by teleconference (in line with the demands of social distancing), to legislate a Stimulus Package Act that will cater to all Nigerian citizens”.