..calls on telecom companies to give out free N1500 airtime

OrderPaperToday– Former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has urged federal and state governments to provide palliatives to Nigerians to enable them survive the harsh impact of Coronavirus on the economy.

In a press statement signed by him on Wednesday, he also pledged N50 million as part of the relief package.

The former lawmaker also advised Nigerians to abide by necessary measures put in place for their own safety.

Atiku suggested the government should devise modalities to distribute N10, 000 to approximately 30 million households in the country as supplement for food stuff to each household, among other palliative measures, “with no one left behind.”

He stated, “As the Coronavirus pandemic ravages the world, I applaud the various Nigerian state governments who have proactively taken measures, such as issuing stay at home orders and shutting down non-essential markets and other places of mass gatherings, while also giving guidelines for social distancing.

“However, we must accept the fact that much of the Nigerian public have a subsistence existence. A large percentage of our people do not have the financial capacity to withstand long periods of self isolation and even lockdown. It is, therefore, incumbent on the federal and state governments to provide palliatives to the Nigerian people to enable them survive, even as they abide by these necessary measures put in place for their own safety.

“At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as supplement for food stuff to each household, among  other palliative measures, with no one left behind.”

In line with this, he called on the National Assembly to “reconvene in an emergency session, perhaps by teleconference (in line with the demands of social distancing), to legislate a Stimulus Package Act that will cater for all Nigerian citizens.”

Atiku also called on all Mobile Telephony Companies in Nigeria to urgently develop mobile money platforms so that government can reach the unbanked with financial assistance and urged individuals and corporate entities to also make relief packages available to affected Nigerians.

“I also urge these telecommunications firms to offer each of the 100 million mobile phone lines in Nigeria free credit of at least ₦1500 per mobile line, so that Nigerians who show symptoms, or those who just want information, can call the nearest available health facility, or even an ambulance service, as the case may be.

“I commend all all individuals and corporate organisations who have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people. This is what makes Nigeria great, when we help each other at such crisis times as this, irrespective of any differences. I further call on more more corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times.

“To this end, Priam Group pledges N50 million on my behalf as my humble contribution to a relief fund that will form part of the stimulus package.”

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