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COVID-19: Atiku seeks N300 billion palliatives over lockdown

*Urges GSM firms to give each line subscriber N1500 free airtime

*Makes donation of N50m to lockdown relief fund

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to pay Nigerians the sum of N300 billion (Three Hundred Billion Naira) to enable them survive the lockdown occasioned by the government policies to curtail spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a press release personally signed by himself, Atiku whose son has tested positive to the virus, also wants GSM companies to N1500 free airtime credit to each subscriber to enable them make calls in the event of emergency arising from the Coronavirus.

According to the release which was issued earlier today, “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 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.

“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.

“I also call on all Mobile Telephony Companies in Nigeria to urgently develop mobile money platforms so that government can reach the unbanked with financial assistance. 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.

“I commend all all individuals and corporate organisations who have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people. 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”, the release concluded.

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