The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives have asked Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, to send their March and April salaries – which they donated in support of the fight against the novel Coronavirus – to their states.
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The representatives made the request in a statement signed by Ogundu Chinda, leader of the PDP caucus, in Abuja, on Thursday.
According to the PDP lawmakers, their caucus is “most dissatisfied” with the distribution of palliatives distributed by the Federal Government, saying the measures announced are “not far-reaching enough” for their constituents.
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The lawmakers urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately authorise the release of food domiciled in the country’s national reserves.
The statement read: “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken our country on an emergency course, unexpected and unanticipated at the beginning of the year.
“It is our considered view that the palliative measures outlined in the presidential broadcast and regulation are not far-reaching enough, while some are completely inapplicable.
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“We must learn quickly from experience by ensuring that immediate measures on food security are ramped up.
“One way of doing this is to open up our national food and grain reserves across the country and distribute food to the poorest of the poor in our country at the local government level.
“The President should as a matter of utmost urgency, issue an Executive Order, pursuant to his powers preserved by Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution, directing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, National Food Reserve Agency and the National Emergency Management Authority to release and manage the distribution of food in our national reserves.”
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The PDP lawmakers stated that while they fully support the gesture of all 360 members of the lower legislative chamber to donate their two-month salaries, they suggested to Gbajabiamila that the donations will be more needed by their states rather than aggregate it to the national relief fund.
“We align with the leadership of the House under Speaker Gbajiabiamila in the sacrifice of donating our salaries to assist our vulnerable constituents at this trying time but we must add that the Speaker and the leadership of the House should consider sending the deductions of our caucus members directly to their various states as we are most dissatisfied with the distribution of palliatives by the Federal Government,” the statement read.
The lawmakers also demanded that the Federal Government should maximise the period of the lockdown and open up free testing and treatment centres in the various zones in the country.