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Akpabio: Why I Cracked ‘Let The Poor Breathe’ Joke

The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio has clarified the reason behind the “let the poor breathe joke” he made at the plenary...

The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio has clarified the reason behind the “let the poor breathe” joke he made at the plenary session on Tuesday, a sarcastic remark that has been greeted with criticisms by Nigerians.

On the floor of the Senate, Akpabio, in his urge to stop the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and distribution companies (DisCos) from hiking tariff jokingly presented the motion moved by Senator Akintunde Abiodun, from Oyo State.

Reacting to the criticisms, the Senate President, in a statement date July 27 and posted on Friday, said he did not mean to insult the citizens, as he was aware of the hardships resulting from the high cost of living.

He said the motive behind his ‘let the poor breathe’ remark “was to firmly reject any plan of increasing electricity tariffs for Nigerians, considering the ongoing economic challenges that Nigerians are faced with.”

The statement added, “We are deeply concerned about the negative tilting of a very harmless statement by President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, about his deep concern and that of the Senate on the plight of the ordinary Nigerians as a result of the prevailing economic situation in the country.

“‘Let The People Breathe’ made during the Plenary on 26th July 2023, was made by Senator Akintunde Abiodun while speaking on the motion to halt the planned electricity tariff hike.”

Akpabio assured Nigerians that the upper legislative arm of the country cannot treat crucial matters with trivialities, and affirmed that the lawmakers cannot make a mockery of the challenges confronting the people.

The statement further reads, “We want to assure the general public that all matters discussed during Senate sessions are of utmost importance and are treated with great seriousness by the President of the Senate and his Distinguished colleagues

“It is crucial to clarify that the intentions of the mover of the motion and the comments of the President of the Senate were never to make light of the hardships, suffering and economic challenges faced by Nigerians at this critical juncture.

“The purpose of the proposal was to firmly reject any plan of increasing electricity tariffs for Nigerians, considering the ongoing economic challenges that Nigerians are faced with.

“The primary focus of the current National Assembly under the Chairmanship of Senator Akpabio is on the implementation of effective and well-structured policies that truly benefit the people. He has repeatedly assured Nigerians that the current Senate will work for all Nigerians.

“The President of the Senate deeply empathises with Nigerians and has never considered the current economic crisis in the country as a matter of jest. His unwavering commitment lies in serving the best interests of the Nigerian people with the release of the ministerial list and the subsequent screening and swearing-in of the ministers, we have high hopes that the newly appointed officials will promptly address the challenges and bring the much needed relief and succour to all citizens thereby, easing the current hardship and pains experienced by Nigerians.”

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