Coronavirus: Atiku asks FG to give Nigerians monetary supplement for foodstuffs

• As group pledges N50m relief fund in Atiku's name• FCT Minister inspects building for isolation center

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday called on the Federal Government and state governments to provide palliatives (monetary supplement) to the Nigerian people to enable them to survive, asking that government should devise modalities to distribute N10, 000 as a supplement for foodstuff to each household in the country because a large percentage of Nigerians do not have the financial capacity to withstand long periods of self-isolation or lockdown.

Atiku who made the call through his Twitter handle applauded the efforts of various governments that had taken several proactive measures to curb the spread of the virus while also giving people useful suggestions on how to protect themselves.

He also announced that to make life easier on Nigerians, an organisation known as Priam Group has pledged the sum of N50 million on his behalf, to serve as his humble contribution to a relief fund that will form part of the stimulus package.

“As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the world, I applaud the various Nigerian state governments who have proactively taken measures such as issuing stay at home orders and shutting down non-essential markets and other places of mass gatherings, while also giving guidelines for social distancing.

“However, we must accept the fact that much of the Nigerian public has a subsistence existence. 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 safety.

“At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, the 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 on a Stimulus Package Act that will cater for all Nigerian citizens,” Atiku advised.

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The former Vice President further called on all Mobile Telephony Companies in Nigeria to urgently develop mobile money platforms so that the government can reach the unbanked with financial assistance, urging the telecommunications firms to offer each of the 100 million mobile phone lines in Nigeria free credit of at least ₦1500 per mobile line so that Nigerians who show symptoms or those who just want information, can call the nearest available health facility or even an ambulance service.

He also commended individuals and corporate organisations who have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people, adding that “in essence, this is what makes Nigeria great, when we help each other at such crisis times as this, irrespective of any differences. I further call on more corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times.”

Meanwhile, the special assistant to the President on new media, Tolu Ogunlesi, also took to his Twitter handle to announce that the Federal Capital Territory Minister on Wednesday, also inspected a new five-floor building in Idu area of  Abuja, that can be converted into a Covid-19 isolation and treatment facility.

He explained that the idea is to speedily equip and convert the building should the need arise, adding that it has a capacity for 300 beds and the private sector is willing to assist on the project.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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