COVID-19: Buhari, Pay Nigerians N25, 000 monthly– HURIWA

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has come to say that Nigeria is a country that is very difficult to govern. The septuagenarian lamented that no matter how hard he tries, some people would still find faults in his government. Adding that as a leader, he has to accept the challenges of leadership and learn to live by them. The president made this known while fielding questions from reporters after receiving some of his aides and close friends who visited him at the presidential villa in Abuja in commemoration of his 77th birthday. “I think I come to accept the realities of leadership in Nigeria, you can only try, it is a terrific country, no matter what you do, there are people on daily basis that look for your faults and go to the press, so you have to learn to live by that,” he said.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Thursday, charged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to pay at least N25,000 monthly to all indigent families and the elderly, amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

HURIWA, a frontline advocacy group, explained that such palliative measure would enable the beneficiaries to buy and stock essential foodstuffs and other pharmaceutical products such as Hand sanitizer; hand gloves and face masks.

It also urged the Federal government, state governors and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Bello Mohammed, to roll out concrete and sustainable economic growth and stimulus package for small and medium scale entrepreneurs to mitigate the effects of the prolonged shut down of economic activities following the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

HURIWA said government would be sending poor and elderly Nigerians to “stay at their homes and die” if nothing is done by way of “Coronavirus Pandemic social welfare reliefs”.

The group stated that the palliative measure should be immediately put in place before a handle or a cure for COVID-19 is found.

In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the rights group said: “We condemn the lackadaisical attitudes of state governors to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and their failure to make life meaningful for their citizens who are expected to stay at home for a long period of time pending the finding of solutions to the health emergency currently ravaging Nigeria just like most parts of the World.

“The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration should introduce and pay at least N25,000 per month to all indigent families and the elderly to enable the verifiable beneficiaries to buy and stock essential foodstuffs and other pharmaceutical products such as Hand sanitizer; hand gloves and face masks since they have been asked by the Government to stay at home for an undetermined period of time pending the end of the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.”

HURIWA argued that by law the poor people of Nigeria are to be cared for by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the governments of the 36 states of the federation and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory under the social safety nets provided for in section 16 of the Nigerian constitution and especially section 16, subsection 2 (B) which provides thus: “the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that the material resources of the nation are harnessed and DISTRIBUTED as best as possible to SERVE THE PUBLIC GOOD”.

HURIWA also affirmed that the fuller import of section 14 (2) (b) which specifies that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” means that it is the statutory obligation of government to provide succour and life saving reliefs to the indigent and the elderly in the times of emergencies such as the widening spectre of coronavirus pandemic.

“Social safety nets evidentially have played significant roles to augment the sustenance of the very poorest of the poor and helps people to escape extreme poverty. In these times of emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria as well as every part of the globe, the Nigerian government must activate effective social safety nets for the benefits of actual population of the poor who have lost their means of livelihoods following the sudden shut down of economic activities following the sudden rise in the spread of the disease of coronavirus.

“As part of the stimulus package, the Nigerian government should pay to poor households specific sums not less than N25,000 per month pending the end of coronavirus pandemic.

“The State governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory are by law supposed to have rolled out a series of social safety nets and cash allowances for the poorest of the poor even as the process of distributing these resources and relief materials must be transparent and accountable.”

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