In a bid to assist the federal government in its fight against COVID-19, Nigerian senators will donate half of their salaries beginning from this month to combat the pandemic.
The Senate spokesperson, Godiya Awashiki, made the announcement in a statement on Monday.
The decision which will commence from March, was reached after “due consultations and a keen review of the national efforts to contain the pandemic in Nigeria,” he said.
“…the Senate wishes to announce that from March, 2020, Distinguished Senators will be donating 50 per cent of their salaries to these efforts to stop the spread of the disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, in our country.
“This monthly contribution from the Upper Legislative Chamber will be sustained until Nigeria is declared safe from the ravages of this deadly disease,” part of the statement reads.
In a recent publication of the National Assembly, senators, per annum take home N24 million. This includes N13 million in salary and N11 million in allowances, which comes to about N2 million per month.
While the Senate commended the Buhari-led administration in the fight against the disease, it pledged its readiness to do whatever is required of the legislature for the effectiveness of all the measures in place now or that may be required in the future to win the fight against Coronavirus.
The Senate also commended all agencies of the federal and state levels for working in collaboration to protect public health across the country.and acknowledged the patriotic response of public-spirited individuals and organisations who have contributed to the fight.
This is even as it urged “citizens to comply with the directives on social distancing and observance of basic rules of hygiene as explained by public health officials as the most effective way to protect ourselves, families and country against COVID-19.”
The House of Representatives is yet to make a similar announcement at the time of this report.
Three days ago, a member of the House of Representatives, Mansur Soro (APC, Bauchi), urged his colleagues to donate their March salaries to procure ventilators, which the country is in shortage of, for public hospitals in the 36 states and FCT.
But the House spokesperson, Benjamin Kalu, said the comparison was undue and that “members are already spending their salaries on their constituencies, through the erection of sensitisation billboards, jingles (and) forming of emergency health corps.”
The Senate’s contribution comes two days after ministers announced they would donate half of their March salaries to help fight the pandemic.
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 Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said the presidential task-force will receive and coordinate all donations made to fight against the pandemic in the country.
The number of confirmed cases in the country has been on the increase. As of 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, the NCDC announced a total of 111 cases including one death.
Mr Buhari has ordered a lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states for 14 days to curb the spread of the virus.