Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government to provide relief for Nigerians in view of the lockdown of the country in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Lawan called on the Federal Government to find ways of providing relief for poor Nigerians whose livelihoods will be affected by the lockdown.
The appeal was made during a meeting between the National Assembly leadership as well as members of the Executive, including Ministers and Directors- General of several government Agencies in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said while business activities are on a lockdown in the country, Government must release funds to ordinary Nigerians for the purchase of food and medicine.
Lawan reiterated that failure on the part of government to address the basic needs of poor Nigerians will lead to bigger problems resulting in the spread of COVID-19 rather than its containment.
Read Excerpts of his statement after the meeting as released by his media aide Ezrel Tabiowo below:
“Our prayer is that we are able to overcome this menace of COVID-19 in good time, because it is really taking a toll on our lives.
“If we have to eventually shut down our country, then as a government we must be prepared to have some relief for the most ordinary people.
“I’m not seeing anything at the moment targeted at providing some relief. If we lock up Nigeria today, then we will wake-up trouble, because majority of our citizens go to market everyday before they can get something to eat.
“So, you lock them up in their houses with a threat of disease and without food. We need to have something, a plan of some sorts, in addition to making sure we don’t lock up the farmers market for example, where people can easily go and buy something, and of course pharmacies.
“We need to have some kind of supplies to people, I don’t know how we can achieve this, but we have to be ingenious.
“This is a time to think deep and wide, to provide for our people, in order for us at least to deal with this challenge at the moment.”
Lawan further appealed to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to create more testing and isolation centres immediately funds are released by the Federal Government.