Apart from donating part of their salaries towards the fight against the spread of Coronavirus, some federal lawmakers have also been reaching out to their constituents through palliatives to cushion the effects of the lockdown, report Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu
The leadership of the National Assembly, last month, adjourned plenary in both the Red and the Green chambers in a bid to help curb the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the Assembly.
This was followed with the announcement few days after that the Senators and House members pledged to donate part of their salaries to the Relief Fund set up by the federal government to help curb the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
But some members of the federal parliament in the last few weeks had also taken it upon themselves to reach out to their constituents by sending palliatives that could help ameliorate their sufferings in this trying period.
Leading the pack is the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who blazed the trail with his donation of N85 million cash as palliative to his constituents in Delta Central Senatorial district in the wake of the Coronavirus ravaging the country.
The donation was part of the measures mapped out by the Deputy Senate President to cushion the effects of the lockdown faced by the constituents due to the Coronavirus.
The disbursement of the cash to some low-income persons across the eight local government areas that make up Delta Central senatorial district namely Ethiope East, Ethiope West, Okpe, Sapele, Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Udu and Uvwie had since commenced.
In all, no fewer than 200 households from each of the 85 wards in the senatorial district will receive the sum of Five Thousand Naira each.
On his part, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, donated N50m cash as palliative to his constituents.
According to the Senator representing Lagos West, the cash donation would help the constituents attend to some basic needs as a result of the lockdown order announced by the Federal Government.
The cash donation is to be distributed across the 10 Local Government Areas and 18 Local Council Development Areas of the District, while a six-member committee across each LGA and LCDAs was set up to identify and implement the cash disbursement targeted in the first instance at 15000 vulnerable individuals, families and groups with beneficiaries getting sums ranging from a minimum of N2,500 and a maximum of N250,000 for groups based on needs.
Another Senator, Bassey Albert, also donated palliatives packages including foodstuffs, sanitary, medical, toiletries, beverages and other essential items to his constituents in Akwa Ibom state.
Beneficiaries include youths, aged men and women, clergymen, students and political leaders. The lawmaker said the gesture was targeted at helping the people in the state to ease the tension as the result of the lockdown.
Also, the Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Yahaya Oloriegbe donated foodstuffs and protective materials to his constituents in the bid to cushion the effects of COVID-19. The distribution covered 18 locations already within the senatorial district while the remaining areas would be covered in due course.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, has donated N10 million to Ekiti state government in its drive to tackle the Coronavirus.
Bamidele, representing Ekiti central senatorial district said, “The donation is my way of identifying with the state government and the people in combating the pandemic.”
Bamidele, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, added that, “This patriotic zeal is an additional step after all the 109 senators had resolved to donate half of our monthly salaries to the National COVID-19 Account”
He directed that the sum of N5 million should be given to the state’s COVID-19 Committee, while another N5 million be given to the centrally coordinated COVID-19 Food Initiative in the state.
Bamidele also called on well-meaning indigenes of the state to complement the ongoing efforts of the Governor Kayode Fayemi administration to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
Also, the only Young Progressives Party (YPP) Senator in the National Assembly, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, is currently mobilising funds for the construction of three Coronavirus isolation and surge centres in the three senatorial districts of Anambra state.
He stressed that in his bid to complement the state Government’s efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, “I have been championing the course of mobilising well-meaning Anambrarians to donate money to build an isolation center and two surge centers across the three Senatorial districts in Anambra.
He commended the generality of Nigerians for the resilience, discipline and patriotism, saying, “We have displayed in this trying moment, that we must not let the crippling fear that has gained momentum around this illness make us lose faith. In spite of the present situation, which seems overwhelming at times, the flames of hope in our hearts must not be extinguished”.
Among the members of the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, led the pack with his donation of N10 million cash and 400 bag of rice to his Surulere federal constituency.
The Speaker’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said the 400 bags of rice and 10 million cash were distributed to the most vulnerable in the constituency.
Following the footsteps of the Speaker is the House Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Wase, who distributed foodstuffs to the less-privileged persons across the 20 wards of Wase federal constituency.
He said the move was part of measures to cushion the effects of the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic while noting that the food items were distributed without any form of discrimination.
Wase appealed to the people not to take the Coronavirus lightly, urging them to always obey government’s orders on the measures aimed at containing the spread of the deadly virus. He said the palliatives has been designed to reach the people directly and not through proxies.
Members of the Osun State All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the House of Representatives donated N5 million to the state COVID-19 fund in support of the state government’s efforts.
Leader of the caucus, Hon Femi Fakeye, said the donation was to assist in providing items that would serve as palliatives for the people especially, the self-employed, whose businesses have been affected. The donation by the six APC lawmakers was besides the individual efforts to assist the constituents.
Also, the member representing Ife federal constituency, Hon Abimbola Ajilesoro, sent relief packages including cash, food items, sanitizers and toiletries to his constituents. He said he did this with the aim of reaching his constituents with the palliatives especially during the lockdown period that is affecting the ordinary citizens in his constituency in particular.
Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Yusuf Buba, has set up a fund and donated all his monthly salaries to his constituents against the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.
The legislator, who represents Gombi/Hong federal constituency of Adamawa, named the fund “Yusuf Captain Buba Coronavirus Trust Fund”.
Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, through his foundation has gifted the people of Abia, food items, medical needs and other packages.
Kalu, who represents Bende Federal Constituency promised to do more for Abia people especially, his constituency, Bende.
Not left out was the Chairman of the Committee on House Services, Hon. Wale Raji, who doled out N5,000 each to his constituents to cushion the effect of COVID-19 lockdown.
Raji, who represents Epe Federal Constituency of Lagos State, also promised to give economic grant to about 500 women to assist their businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the disbursement was targeted at about 1,000 selected members of his constituency, starting from Eredo Local Council Development Area, using the ward-to-ward and house-to-house approach to ensure the social distancing order is obeyed.
The member representing Chanchaga federal constituency of Niger State, Hon. Umar Bago provided, eleven trailer loads of rice for all the 11 wards in his constituency. The lawmaker explained that the distribution of relief package was to cushion the effect of the stay at home order.
Hon. Akin Alabi representing Egbeda/Ona Ara federal constituency in Oyo state, started a door-to-door enlightenment campaign on Covid-19 to teach local residents in his constituency about social distancing and self-isolation.
During the enlightenment campaign, Alabi also provided the first batch of his emergency relief package, which includes food items and hygiene products for the residents at their doorstep in order to cushion the effect of the stay at home order.
The lawmaker representing Ezza south/Ikwo federal constituency, Hon. Chinedu Ogah, also distributed 39 motorcycles, 11 tricycles, other gift items and cash to his constituents.
The distribution of the gifts was part of the programme he organised to sensitize his people on the COVID-19 pandemic in his Amagu Ikwo resident.
Ogah, who maintained social distancing at the programme as personal example, educated his constituency on the symptoms of COVID 19 and urged them to always observe all the health tips required to prevent the disease.
Equally not left out was the member representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo federal constituency of Ebonyi State, Hon Livinus Makwe, who donated 3,000 bottles of 250ml hand sanitisers to his constituents.
Makwe said the gesture was to complement the efforts of the Ebonyi State government in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to the state.t