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Covid-19: Atiku calls for relief fund for poor Nigerians

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Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has called on the Federal Government and state governments to set up a palliative fund to assist Nigerians as they observe stay-at-home orders occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement he personally signed on Wednesday, Atiku observed that much of the Nigerian population live on subsistence basis and do not have the financial capacity to cope with long periods of isolation or lockdown.

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“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”, he said.

Atiku announced a pledge of N50 million to the proposed fund, saying, “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”.

Stating modalities for the disbursement of the fund, Atiku said, “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.

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“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”.

The former Vice President commended individuals and corporate organisations that have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people.

“This is what makes Nigeria great, when we help one another 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.”

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