Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has advised that the N37billion budgeted for the renovation of the National Assembly complex should be given to the states to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the masses.
The group made the proposition in a letter written to the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
In the letter by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, SERAP suggested that each of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja should be given N1billion.
SERAP said, “We applaud the patriotic steps and voluntary contributions already made by the National Assembly towards fighting COVID-19 in the country. We now urge you to make major strides to national efforts to deal with one of the greatest threats facing the country by immediately redirecting the N37billion to provide direct and tangible benefits to the poorest and most vulnerable people among us.
“Nigeria is at a crossroads and the National Assembly leaders and members must now decide whether to continue to look after themselves and do little for the country’s poorest or make commitment to redirect the N37billion to help ameliorate the suffering caused by COVID-19 restrictions.
“While some of the authorities’ responses to COVID-19 across the country may be necessary to stop the spread of the disease and save lives, we are concerned that the prevailing situation has taken its toll on the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people who continue to endure the grimmest of conditions in several states and the FCT.
“We also urge you to immediately advise President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed to urgently implement your commitment to redirect the N37billion to provide direct and tangible benefits and reliefs to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”