COVID-19: HURIWA Tasks President Buhari, Governors on Social Safety Nets

Condemns Adamawa State’s Disavowal on March Salaries for Workers

Civil Rights group—Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the Federal government and the governors of the 36 states of the federation and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, to roll out concrete and sustainable economic growth and stimulus package for small and medium scale entrepreneurs, to mitigate the effects of the prolonged shut down of economic activities, following the sudden spike in the Coronavirus Pandemic in Nigeria.

HURIWA said if nothing by way of Coronavirus Pandemic’ social welfare reliefs for the poor and elderly are provided for immediately for the over 90 million absolutely Poor Nigerians, it will mean that the Current administration is simply sending the poor population to “STAY AT THEIR HOMES AND DIE”, even before a handle or a cure for the Coronavirus pandemic is found in the coming days.

“We condemn the lackadaisical attitudes of state governors to combat the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic  and their failure to make life meaningful for their citizens who are expected to stay at home for a long period of time, pending the finding of solution to the health emergency currently ravaging Nigeria just like most parts of the World”, said the HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko.

Similarly, HURIWA charged President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to also introduce and pay at least N25,000 per month to all indigent families and the elderly to enable the verifiable beneficiaries to buy and stock essential foodstuffs and other pharmaceutical products such as Hand sanitizer; hand gloves and face masks since they have been asked by Government to stay at home for an undetermined period of time pending the end of the spread of Coronavirus Pandemic in Nigeria.

HURIWA argued that by law the poor people of Nigeria are to be cared for by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the governments of the 36 states of the federation and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory under the social safety nets provided for in section 16 of the Nigerian constitution and especially section 16, subsection 2 (B) which provides thus: “the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that the material resources of the nation are harnessed and DISTRIBUTED as best as possible to SERVE THE PUBLIC GOOD”. 

HURIWA also affirmed that the fuller import of section 14 (2) (b) which specifies that “THE SECURITY AND WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE SHALL BE THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT” means that it is the statutory OBLIGATION OF GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE SUCCOUR AND LIFE SAVING RELIEFS to the indigent and the elderly in the times of emergencies such as the widening spectre of CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC.

“Social Safety nets evidently have played significant roles to augment the sustenance of the very poorest of the poor and helps people to escape extreme poverty. In these times of emergencies such as the CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC  IN NIGERIA as well as every part of the globe, the Nigerian government must activate effective SOCIAL SAFETY NETS for the benefits of actual population of the poor who have lost their means of livelihoods following the sudden shut down of economic activities.

“As part of the stimulus package the Nigerian government should pay to poor households specific sums not less than N25,000 per month pending the end of CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. The State governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory are by law supposed to have rolled out a series of social safety nets and cash allowances for the poorest of the poor even as the process of distributing these resources and relief materials must be transparent and accountable”. 

HURIWA has therefore tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow a good leaf from both the USA and UK on how to stand with the citizens of their nations, given that Nigeria borrowed the political system of administration from both the USA and the UK.

HURIWA has also condemned as outrageous and Illegal the reneging of the agreement by the Adamawa State Government to pay the state civil servants the N30,000 new national minimum wage just as the Rights group said State governments ought to have savings and buffers from where any responsible state administration can fall back to meet up or augment emerging financial demands that are occasioned by either medical or health emergencies like the ongoing Coronavirus.

“We expect that at this time all FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and State government appointees should take 75% pay cuts so the proceeds from these savings can be used to combat the CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA and the payment of wages to the civil servants who are on the employment roll call  of the Federal government and the States.

HURIWA recalled that the Adamawa State Government has reportedly suspended its plan to begin the payment of consequential adjustment of the national minimum wage, agreed upon with Joint Trade Unions starting this March just as the government said that due to the impact of the coronavirus-imposed economic crunch on its finances, it would have to put on hold to the payment of consequential adjustment of the national minimum wage until the COVID-19 impact subsides.

HURIWA has therefore asked Nigerians to continue to adopt all scientifically recommended steps and personal hygiene to beat the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria as soon as possible. 

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