Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to adopt palliative measures to help Nigerians defeat the unseen enemy of coronavirus.
Atiku made this disclosure in a statement which he personally signed, on Wednesday.
The statement as obtained by Page 36’s Correspondent reads in full:
“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 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. 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.
“Thus, as a patriotic duty, I suggest that the Federal Government make use of the latest tranche of the Abacha loot in making a transfer of between ₦5,000 and ₦10,000 to each of the 38.5 million bank accounts in Nigeria verified by the Bank Verification Number policy.
“In that way, heads of households all over the federation can buy food stuff, water, medicines, and other necessities for their dependents and the effect can trickle down to benefit the national economy.
“If these funds have not yet been released to Nigeria by the United States, then I suggest that the Federal Government immediately make a case to the US authorities for the immediate release of the funds on compassionate grounds, a request I know that President Donald Trump, being a humanitarian, will look kindly to.
“The time is now for the National Assembly to convene an emergency session, perhaps by teleconference (in the spirit of social distancing), to legislate a Stimulus Package Act that will cater for all Nigerian citizens, including the unbanked, and those in the rural areas. We must ensure that the coronavirus does not deepen extreme poverty in Nigeria.
“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.
“Finally, I commend 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 corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times.
“May God bless Nigeria.”