Sanni Onogu, Abuja
On Thursday, the Senate asked the federal government to immediately plan ways to provide aid to poor Nigerians, whose daily livelihood will be affected as a result of restricted movement due to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Senate President Ahmad Lawan made the appeal after a meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and some ministers and heads of government agencies on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the Senate president, in addition to considering a total blockade of commercial activities in the country, the federal government should plan a plan by releasing funds specifically for the purchase of food and pharmaceutical products for ordinary Nigerians.
He warned that the lack of advance action to meet the basic needs of poor Nigerians could lead to more problems for the government and result in less control over the spread of the disease.
Lawan, according to a statement by his Special Assistant (Press) Ezrel Tabiowo, in Abuja, said: “Our prayer is that we can overcome this COVID-19 threat in time, because it is really affecting our lives. lives.
“If we have to shut down our country, then, as a government, we must be prepared to get some relief for the most ordinary people.
“As a government, we need to find our own money to finance something for our people, because the United States of America is mentioned or the British Parliament is because it involves public funds.
"I am not seeing anything at the moment with the aim of providing some relief. If we lock Nigeria today, we will have trouble waking up, because most of our citizens go to the market every day before they get something to eat.
“So, you lock them up in their homes with a threat of disease and without food. We need to have something, some kind of plan, in addition to ensuring that we don't lock up the farmers' market, for example, where people can easily buy something and, of course, pharmacies.
"We need to have some kind of supply for people, I don't know how we can do that, but we need to be resourceful.
"This is a time to think in depth and breadth, to provide our people, so that we can at least deal with this challenge at the moment."
The President of the Senate, moreover, urged the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to establish more testing and isolation centers as soon as more resources are released to him by the Federal Government.
He added that the Senate Committees on Appropriation, Finance and National Planning will oversee the Nigerian Center for Disease Control on the strict application of the N6.5 billion to be released to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I believe that our Health Committees, in the Senate and in the Chamber, should be aware of this, when the funds are released, so that they (NCDC) do not spend just one day spending money elsewhere, where we cannot achieve this type extremely necessary dissemination, ”said the president of the Senate.
Lawan also assured the executive branch of the government that both chambers of the National Assembly would be readily willing, if necessary, to work on the planned review of the 2020 budget before the legislature meets on April 7, 2020.