*** Warns that trouble looms if the FG fails to do that
***Says relevant committees will ensure strict application of N6.5 billion by NCDC
By Henry Umoru
PRESIDENT of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, yesterday urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, come up with ways of providing relief for poor Nigerians whose daily livelihood will be affected as a result of the restriction on movement following the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus( COVIC- 19) that is at the moment, ravaging the world.
He has however warned that Nigeria as a country will invite trouble if the poor that are the most vulnerable are not taken care of against the backdrop that majority of the citizens go to the market every day before they can get something to eat.
The Senate has however assured that all its relevant Committees on Appropriations, Finance and National Planning will oversight the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC on the strict application of the N6.5 billion to be released for the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Lawan has however assured the Executive arm of government that both Chambers of the National Assembly would be readily disposed of should the need arise, work on the planned review of the 2020 budget before the legislature reconvenes on April 7, 2020.
The President of the Senate noted that besides mulling a total lockdown of business activities in the country, the Federal Government must put in place a plan through the release of funds specifically for the purpose of purchasing food and pharmaceutical supplies for ordinary Nigerians.
Lawan made the appeal against the backdrop of a meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and some Ministers and Heads of Government Agencies on Wednesday in Abuja.
The President of the Senate who warned that not making provisions ahead of time to address the basic needs of poor Nigerians may likely lead to more problems for the government, and less result in controlling the spread of the disease, said, “Our prayer is that we are able to overcome this menace of COVID-19 in good time because it is really taking a toll on our lives.
“If we have to eventually shut down our country, then as a government we must be prepared to have some relief for the most ordinary people.
“As a government, we must find our own money to fund something for our people, because the United States of America that is talked about or the British Parliament is because this involves public funds.
“I’m not seeing anything at the moment targeted at providing some relief. If we lock up Nigeria today, then we will wake-up trouble, because the majority of our citizens go to the market every day before they can get something to eat.
“So, you lock them up in their houses with a threat of disease and without food. We need to have something, a plan of some sorts, in addition to making sure we don’t lock up the farmers market for example, where people can easily go and buy something, and of course pharmacies.
“We need to have some kind of supplies to people, I don’t know how we can achieve this, but we have to be ingenious.
“This is a time to think deep and wide, to provide for our people, in order for us at least to deal with this challenge at the moment.”
Lawan who urged the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control to establish more testing and isolation centres as soon as more funds are released to it by the Federal Government, said, “I believe that our Committees on Health, in the Senate and in the House, must be alert to this, when funds are released, so that they (NCDC) don’t just go on jamboree spending the money elsewhere, where we may not achieve this kind of spread that is extremely necessary.”