Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has called on the Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, to provide a stimulus package for Nigerian families as the nation battles the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Coronavirus has ravaged through countries across the world for the past three months and interrupted human activities, and endangered the global economy.
The Nigerian government has already restricted all international flights into the country and closed all land borders. All public workers from Level 12 and below have also been instructed to work from home to reduce human traffic around the country.
A few state governments have announced similar measures to curb the disease, trapping many Nigerians in their homes with minimal contact with others advised for everyone.
In a statement on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Atiku, whose son, Mohammed, recently tested positive for the virus, said a large percentage of Nigerians lack the financial capacity to withstand restricted activity as is currently required.
He therefore called on the Federal and state governments to provide palliatives for Nigerians to survive the current difficult times.
“At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, the government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for foodstuff 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,” he said.
To show his commitment to his call, Atiku, who lost the presidential election in 2019, pledged the donation of N50 million, donated on his behalf by Priam Group, as contribution to a relief fund that will form part of the stimulus package.
"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." https://t.co/uTjCt6DRID — Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) March 25, 2020
He also called on all mobile telephone companies in the country to develop mobile money platforms so that the government will be able to reach unbanked Nigerians with the proposed package.
“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,” he said.
Atiku called on individuals and corporate organisations to assist the government in providing relief for the Nigerian people.
Nigeria has recorded 46 cases in eight states - Lagos (30), the Federal Capital Territory (8), Ogun (3), Ekiti (1), Oyo (1), Edo (1), Bauchi (1), and Osun (1).