Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has insisted that the federal government’s palliatives intended to cushion effects of the lockdown imposed to control the spread of Coronavirus must get to all Nigerian in need f such interventions.
Addressing his colleagues during an emergency plenary of the House Tuesday, called to address some pressing national issues over the COVID-19 pandemic, Gbajabiamila said though the government has done its best to reach as many Nigerians as possible, evidence showed that many in need were yet to get any form of palliative.
“The commendable palliative schemes initiated by the administration have helped alleviate the sufferings of some of our most vulnerable populations. However, many of our people have not benefited from any of the implemented measures. It is necessary that we act to ensure that as many people as need help, are reached. We must also ensure that the distribution of interventions across the country is inclusive and equitable.”
“At times like this, there is a tendency for the existing faultlines of a nation to become dangerously exacerbated. The government must not be complicit, by acts of omission or commission in any such aggravations, as such will only make it more difficult to maintain the unity of purpose, that is essential to our nation’s survival at this delicate time,” he said.
In his opinion, the government should take advantage of the unique insights of federal legislators in targeting the distribution of some essential palliatives.
“When federal government interventions do not reach those that in need, we are the first to receive complaints and have to explain to our constituents the reasons why they do not qualify or why they have been left out. Our grassroots interactions provide knowledge and context that can be useful to ensure that the hardest-hit communities receive help”, he noted.
Gbajabiamila also advised that in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, Nigeria must do everything possible to prevent large scale outbreak of the pandemic.
According to him, “The restrictions imposed on our people as a result of the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun states, the Federal Capital Territory and the curfews imposed by other state governments are a necessary intervention. These restrictions are a marked departure from the norm, and many of our people are understandably having a hard time adjusting.”
He however tasked his colleagues to as as leaders in their respective constituencies, to “ensure that the people in your local communities understand the reasons for these restrictions, and adhere to all preventative measures such as handwashing, social distancing and other guidelines set out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).