President of the Chris Emejuru Foundation, Chris Emejuru, has urged the Federal Government to make its palliative for Nigerians a comprehensive one to ease the hardship of lockdown.
President Muhammadu Buhari had declared a lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states as part of efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
Many governors have also ordered a lockdown in their respective states.
But commentators are of the view that if food and money are not made available to the poor in the country, many will die of hunger.
Consequently, the Federal Government commenced payment of N20, 000 each to five thousand beneficiaries of its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Wednesday.
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, disclosed this at Kwali Area Council in the FCT.
Farouq said the payment was in line with the directives by President Buhari.
Also, President Buhari has approved the release of 70,000 metric tons of grains from the National Grain Reserve to be distributed to the vulnerable.
But Emejuru, who is based in the US, specifically suggested that feeding centers across all the wards should be created in addition to payment of N18,000 minimum to all poor Nigerians.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, Emejuru said his Foundation has developed a proposal capable of addressing some of the challenges Nigerians might experience during the total lockdown.
He said three major areas; health, economy and the social welfare of the citizens are major concerns at this period.
He said: “In the package, is a proposal of 18,000 naira for the next several months to the most poorest in Nigeria as well as the opportunity to start a business.
“Through collaborative efforts with NGOs, feeding centers should be created to address the food shortage problems. Hygiene and sanitation materials (Toiletries) should also be distributed to the most vulnerable and every Nigerian citizen who needs it.
“The government at all levels should also make vehicles available at every strategic locations so as to convey people who might develop any form of sickness to healthcare centers and to assist those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.”
Emejuru believes that during this pandemic and at the recovery stage; “the federal government can reduce the tax burden (in the short term) of those in the agricultural sector so that prices of goods will reduce and Nigerian citizens, especially those living below poverty line, can afford them.
“The coronavirus pandemic will have many implications moving forward. But I believe this pandemic brings a day of reckoning. A reflection of our values and beliefs of where we want Nigeria to be. I believe this is our moment. This is our time to address our many challenges and take Nigeria to the next level of leadership truly proclaiming our country as the giant of Africa. The time is now and it begins Today,” Emejuru stated.