The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has lambasted the Federal Government of Nigeria and some states concerning the provision and distribution of palliatives designed to alleviate the hardship that citizens are passing through as a result of lockdown ordered by the government.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Abdul Gombe and made available to newsmen on Friday in Abuja.
The full statement reads:
“Covid-19 has turned out to be a terrible disease that has not only frustrated medical intelligence but has sunk the entire human race into utter confusion. Governments across the world have been rattled and almost all have adopted social distancing, lockdown policies, masking and sanitization as the only measures to counter the spread of the disease that has long been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The disease has so far affected over 1.5million people with deaths inching to 100,000 persons.
In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments in developed nations like the United States of America, members of the European Union, Canada, China, Russia and developing nations such as Ghana, Rwanda and Nigeria in the African continent have all in varying degrees adopted lockdown as one of the measures to counter spread of COVID-19. This measure has meant forcing citizens to stay at home for weeks with each government agreeing and putting in place some palliative measures to prevent their citizens from experiencing hunger and ameliorate hardship that such measure will cause both the citizens and their businesses that would naturally suffer from such lockdown.
The British government, for example; as part of its palliatives, has announced 80% pay relief for 3 months to all their workers locked down as well as some bailout loans to the businesses affected. The United States government, on its own part, has approved a $2trillion package in Phase 1 of its palliatives which has seen direct payments to citizens and bailout for small, medium and large enterprises.
Coming home to Africa, we have heard of the Ghanian government announcing reliefs for its citizens and special palliatives for its health workers in frontline duties confronting the scourge.
In Rwanda, we have seen sizeable food items on social media being distributed to citizens.
In Nigeria, we have seen lockdown ordered by quite a number of State Governments and the Federal Government in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states with the following promises.
● Most of the states where lockdown has been ordered asking their citizens to remain indoors for 2 weeks in the first instance with promises of some reliefs;
● The Federal Government promising or in fact announcing that 2.6million of its poor citizens have been given N20,000.00 each within 4 days; and,
● The Federal Government started a process of putting in place a N500billion fund to assist businesses overcome challenges brought about by Covid-19.
To supplement above measures, we have seen some rich Nigerians donating up to billions of naira to the Covid-19 Support Fund to compliment efforts of the Federal and State Governments in addressing the challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) as a political party in Nigeria and indeed the voice of the voiceless of the Nigerian masses, welcomes and congratulates the Federal and State Governments that have taken measures to help the Nigerian masses and also thanks all those philanthropists that have assisted. We equally wish to use this medium to challenge the governments of the wrongs so far committed in their efforts shown above as highlighted below:
A. Sharing of N20,000.00 each to 2.6million Nigerians.
Sharing of N20,000.00 each to 2.6million Nigerians by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Services and Disaster Management within 4 days has been found by the PRP as very hard to believe and we consider the action fraudulent which needs to be urgently addressed by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government elected on the mantra on probity and accountability.
The PRP hereby demands that President Muhammadu Buhari ask the Minister of Hunanitarian Services and Disaster Management to immediately tell Nigerians:
a) The names, location of the 2.6 million Nigerians given N20,000.00 each;
b) The methodology used in the disbursement of the said N5,200,000,000.00 to 2.6million Nigerians; and,
c) The source of this N5.2billion and if it came from the Public Treasury, when it was appropriated to the said Ministry.
Should the Ministry fail to give Nigerians above answers, we will ask and continue to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to order probe of this payment as well as the questionable disbursement of the loans to 18,200 Nigerians granted by National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) notwithstanding the feeble attempt made recently by His Special Assitant on Social Investment in response to the justifiable questions raised by the National Assembly on these loans to answer some grey areas on the source of funds used and disbursement of the loans.
Where Mr. President fail through his minister and other appointees to satisfactorily answer the questions as to whom were paid money or given loans in Nigeria, the National Assembly as representatives of the Peoples of Nigeria should (as expected of them by Nigerians) to rise to the challenge by openly probing NSIP loans to 18,200 Nigerians; and payment of N20,000.00 each to 2.6million Nigerians in 4 days as palliative to the poor for Covid-19.
We see satisfactory answers to the above as the litmus tests of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on which the Nigerian masses that almost worshiped him will judge him and his administration.
B. Lockdown of Nigerians Without Sustenance.
Although lockdown is so far one of the surest ways of containing the scourge of COVID-19, the measure as far as the PRP is concerned should be looked at with some common sense and logic which are lacking in current policies which show brutal force exhibiting rather than logic and common sense. In almost all the states that have ordered lockdown, we have not seen any meaningful sustainance been put in place to ensure that those locked down are fed. Our investigation amongst our members in the metropolis have shown that quite a number of people feed only once a day and that too not from what the governments have provided but from what neighbours and relations have helped with.
We want the state governments that ordered for lockdown to realise that many of their citizens, some in the majority in a number of such states, have to go out daily to earn a living before they can feed themselves and their families.
Consequently, we in the PRP urge and demand that:
a) The state governments that have ordered lockdown in their states must provide for sustainance for those locked down beyond what we have so far seen of providing a 50kg bag of rice, carton of indomie, a gallon of oil and small measure of beans for 80 families and we consider this inhumane and certainly unacceptable;
b. Where sustainance can not be provided to people, we demand that they be allowed to come out and earn their livings with only these requirements:
b. Social distancing in public areas and markets,
c. Gatherings should not be more than 10 persons; and,
d. Prevention of religious gathering.
Adoption of above measures in the absence of adequate sustenance are in our views more sensible and fair than lockdown without sustenance. It is most certainly thinking with foot rather than head, to insist on lock-up without providing for sustenace to a person who has to earn his living outside his home daily.
We end this press release by asking the Federal Government to bring accountability and humaness in its palliative measure. We also ask the state governments that ordered lockdown to bring sustenance to back up their measure and allow their citizens to earn their livings. In addition, we will warn that the governments of Nigeria should not push the Nigerian masses to the wall as any human being locked up without food beyond reason can become unreasonable and should not be blamed for reacting when and if he does.
Finally, we appreciate the painstaking sacrifices that Nigerians have been subjected to in the Lockdowns of our cities and towns with consequential inconveniences. We also appreciate sacrifices of our health workers involved in handling Coronavirus infections as well as the contributions made by our philanthropists.
May Almighty God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”