The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has urged the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to send the donated salaries of its members to their various states, rather than into the national purse.
The leader of the caucus, Kingsley Chinda, made the call in a statement he issued on Thursday.
The House had resolved to donate two months’ salaries to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
The speaker, Mr Gbajabiamila, announced the gesture in a video he shared on Facebook, Tuesday afternoon.
But Mr Chinda in his statement said the lawmakers were dissatisfied with the distribution of palliatives by the federal government.
He added that the COVID-19 palliative measures outlined in the broadcast of President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday were not far-reaching enough and some are completely inapplicable.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly taken our country on an emergency course, unexpected and unanticipated at the beginning of the year,” Mr Chinda said.
“It is our considered view that the palliative measures outlined in the presidential broadcast and regulation are not far-reaching enough, while some are completely inapplicable.
“We must learn quickly from experience by ensuring that immediate measures on food security are ramped up.
“One way of doing this is to open up our national food and grain reserves across the country and distribute food to the poorest of the poor in our country at the local government level.”
“The President should as a matter of utmost urgency, issue an Executive Order, pursuant to his powers preserved by Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution, directing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, National Food Reserve Agency and the National Emergency Management Authority to release and manage the distribution of food in our national reserves.”
“The House of Representatives should send directly to the various States the donations of their State Representatives,” Mr. Chinda said.
He also urged the house to come up with additional emergency bills to address price regulation of essential comodities (Medicals and Food).
Mr. Chinda urged the federal government to maximise the period of the lockdown and open up free testing and treatment centres in the various zones in the country.
The Senate had a few days before the House announced that senators were contributing half of their salaries beginning from March to help combat the coronavirus until the epidemic is declared over.
All federal ministers have also announced they would donate half of their March salaries to the cause.
Banks, private organisations and individuals have donated billions to fight the epidemic in Nigeria.
The United Bank for Africa on Thursday announced a N5 billion donation.
Femi Otedola, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Herbert Wigwe and Segun Agbaje also donated N1 billion each to support the cause.
In a long-awaited speech, President Buhari on Sunday said the presidential task-force will receive and coordinate all donations made to fight against the pandemic in the country.
Nigeria reported its first confirmed case on February 27 and the number of cases has since risen.
As of today, the country has reported 190 cases. The breakdown according to states shows that Lagos has recorded the highest, followed by the FCT.
Other states with recorded cases are Oyo, Ogun, Enugu, Edo, Bauchi, Osun, Ekiti, Rivers, Benue and Kaduna.
Meanwhile, two deaths have so far been reported from the outbreak.
Mr Buhari has ordered a lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states for 14 days to curb the spread of the virus.
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