Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has advised the Federal and State Governments to provide palliatives to Nigerians to enable them comply and survive the directive to work at home owing to the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria.
Abubakar, in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Abuja, said the call was important as large percentage of Nigerians did not have the financial capacity to withstand long periods of self isolation.
He applauded the various proactive measures taken by government to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
The measures, according to him, include stay at home orders, shutting down non-essential markets and other places of mass gatherings, while also giving guidelines for social distancing.
Abubakar said: “However, we must accept the fact that much of the Nigerian public have 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 survive, even as they abide by these necessary measures put in place for their own safety.
“At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as supplement for food stuff to each household, among other palliative measures, with no one left behind.”
Abubakar added that it was also 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 would cater for all Nigerian citizens.
He also called on all Mobile Telephony Companies in Nigeria to urgently develop mobile money platforms so that government can reach the unbanked with financial assistance.
He said: “I also urge these telecommunications firms to offer each of the 100 million mobile phone lines in Nigeria free credit of at least N1,500 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, as the case may be.”
Abubakar commended all individuals and corporate organisations who had one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people.
He said: “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 more corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times.
“To this end, Priam Group pledges N50 million on my behalf as my humble contribution to a relief Fund that will form part of the stimulus package.”