The members of the House of Representatives have unanimously resolved to donate their two months’ salaries to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, Nigerian Tribune reports.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who disclosed this in a video message to Nigerians explained that the lawmakers’ contribution was aimed at supporting the “provision for the welfare of frontline medical professionals and health workers and other interventions to provide for the well-being of Nigerians through these trying times.”
According to him, the two-month salaries donation will be independent of the contributions by individual lawmakers to alleviate the hardship that their constituents face at this time of national emergency.
To this end, the Speaker directed the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA) to transfer directly the two months’ salary proceeds to the National Relief Fund account for the fight against COVID-19.
In a video message to Nigerians as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hon. Gbajabiamila said: “We have in the House of Representatives jointly committed to contributing 100% of our salaries for the next two months to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“Our contribution will support provisions for the welfare of frontline medical professionals and health workers, and other interventions to provide for the wellbeing of all Nigerians through these trying times.
“Accordingly, I have directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to see to it that all members’ salaries are transferred to the National Relief Fund for this month and the next.
“This is independent of ongoing individual efforts by members to alleviate the suffering brought on by this virus and to improve the living conditions of citizens in their various constituencies.”
He said the House would exercise its oversight power to ensure faithful administration of all emergency funds and contributions made so far including salaries to ensure they serve the purpose for which they were intended.
Thus, the House has already mandated the Committees on Health and Disaster Preparedness to diligently oversee the distribution of items donated by local and foreign donors to ensure proper management, he said.
Hon. Gbajabiamila also said the House has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make cash grants to the 774 local government areas in the country to alleviate the suffering of the masses.
“The House also calls on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of its Policy Measures in Response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to immediately direct cash grants to the 774 Local Government Area administrations in the country to provide food and other essentials to at-risk individuals and communities.”
The Speaker implored Nigerians to adhere strictly to the guidelines given by relevant authorities to prevent further spread of the disease, saying Nigeria could not afford to have a large scale outbreak of the disease.
“This crisis has exposed in the worst possible way the evident weaknesses of our health system. After this is over and moving forward, we must do everything in our power to ensure that we will never again come upon a moment such as this, as ill-equipped as we are now.