Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has pledged a donation of N50m to support government’s effort in fighting the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country.
In a statement personally signed on March 25, Atiku said that he believed the donation would help efforts towards curbing the spread of the pandemic.
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.
Atiku added that;
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.
The former vice president, whose son is one of Nigeria’s coronavirus patients, also urged the federal government to put in place palliative measures to help Nigerians survive the economic crisis that may come with the pandemic.
He said the government should distribute at least N10,000 to each Nigerian household to help them buy food, while telecommunication companies should hand free airtime to subscribers.
Atiku expressed that;
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.
In his words, the former vice president said;
At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for food stuff 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 for all Nigerian citizens.
In his statement, he called on all Mobile Telephony Companies in Nigeria to urgently develop mobile money platforms so that government can reach the unbanked with financial assistance, adding that;
I also urge these 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, as the case may be.