The House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday regretted that many Nigerians in need were yet to get any form of COVID-19 palliative.
He therefore, called on the Federal Government to ensure that the palliatives provided to cushion the effect of the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic reach all Nigerians in need.
The Speaker stated this in his address at the resumption of the lawmakers plenary on Tuesday.
The Rep members and the Senate had been on break since March 24, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Addressing the lawmakers, Gbajabiamila said although the government has done its best to reach as many Nigerians as possible, “evidence showed that many Nigerians in need are 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.”
He added that “at times like this, there is a tendency for the existing faultiness 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.”
On COVID-19 fight, the Speaker said that to contain the spread of the virus Nigeria must do everything possible to prevent large scale outbreak.
“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.
“Honourable colleagues, as leaders in your constituencies, you must 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).
“Our best hope is to prevent the massive outbreak of this disease in Nigeria. If we fail to do that, and this disease begins to transmit at scale, all our worst nightmares will become manifest at once, and our misfortunes will compound beyond our ability to respond.”
The Speaker revealed that in preparing for the new reality the country faces, he has established a COVID-19 Strategic Response Team (CRST) with a broad mandate to develop interventions and reforms and to update the Legislative Agenda to reflect Nigeria’s post-Covid realities and priorities.
“The Strategic Response Team will be supported by a group of technical experts, private sector leaders and representatives. Their experience and expertise will ensure that the policy proposals presented to the House are rigorously grounded in a fact-based reality.”
Gbajabiamila said the House would work on legislation in that regard, saying “We intend to bring these unique perspectives in our ongoing work to codify the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) into a bill that will be considered by the House at our next adjourned date.”
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