…accuse Buhari of poor response to pandemic

OrderPaperToday– The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce the rate of Value Added Tax and make reasonable reduction of pump price of fuel to a sum prorated to the reduction in crude oil price as part of measures to cushion the harsh impact of the virus on Nigerians.

They also proposed that the government should make electricity available and free for citizens within the period.

In a press statement personally signed by the caucus leader, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, the opposition lawmakers said they had “followed with amazement, the poor response of the federal government and the lackluster attitude of President Muhammadu Buhari to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in the country.”

They added that since the country reported its index case, the Buharı-led federal government has failed in its response to the virus, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The PDP reps also noted that President Buharı has not “thought it expedient to address the citizens of Nigeria to assure them of government’s commitment to protect them in such a frightening situation, nor has he taken any firm and positive palliative step to cushion the effect of the pandemic on our vulnerable citizens.”+

Going further, they added that “calls by Nigerians and the Nigerian Senate for the leader of the nation to offer words of assurance and to lead the battle against Coronavirus from the front has been met with a rebuke and haughty words for the Senate by the Presidency.

The caucus said, “It is saddening to note that while governments of other countries have braced up to the challenges of the outbreak of the deadly virus, and provided their citizens palliative measures to cushion the effects of the shutdowns, Nigeria is yet to come up with any tangible plan for its citizens.

“The United States government has released $1 trillion emergency stimulus to pay each citizen $1,000; the United Kingdom released £330 billion Business Loan Package: Germany released $600 billion stimulus; Canada released C$20 billion Economic Relief Package and stopped payment of rents and Italy released €26 billion and will pay rent, while the federal government of Nigeria only reduced the pump price of fuel by N20 only, less than 50 cents.

“This intervention is cosmetic and cannot offer succour for the pending hardship the generality of Nigerians, especially the poor (about 85% of our population) are likely to suffer following the scary combination of the drastic fall in oil prices and the Coronavirus pandemic and its devastating consequences as recorded in advanced economies”.

Mr. Chinda asserted that responsible leaders all over the world are in constant communication with their citizens by giving them hope but “Nigeria’s president has remained tight-lipped.”

He continued, “Also, taking into account the ravaging effects of the virus on the health of the people, responsive leaders, in addition to shutting their borders to other countries, have consistently addressed and reassured their citizens, while the Nigerian president remains tight-lipped and missing in action, even as it took a public outcry for the government to impose travel restrictions on 13 countries with over one thousand cases despite the gradual but steady increase in the number of infected persons in the country.”

Consequently, the caucus called on the president to as a matter of urgency, address the nation and reassure Nigerians on the state of preparedness and “for once, lead a public battle from the front.”

It also urged the federal government to open up free testing and treatment centres in all zones in the country.



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