The Edo Progressive Indigenes Association (EPIA) has advocated for palliative measures to address the possible consequences of the lockdown of businesses, work, and other movements across the country.
President of EPIA, Bishop Edokpolo who spoke on behalf of the organisation in Benin this afternoon, cautioned that the citizens might be forced to flout the ‘Stay-at-home of the government in order to fend for themselves and families.
The organisation suggested the use of BVNs, already with the Central Bank of Nigeria, arguing that certain amount of money can be paid into each BVN holder’s account every month.
According to the statement, “N100,000 can sustain an individual during lockdown for one month or more. It would cost the Nigerian government N3.5 trillion to pay this to every BVN in the country. There are currently about 35 million active BVNs registered in Nigeria.
“Nigeria’s annual budget is around N13 trillion naira. It is possible”.
The statement also warned the government against locking down the country without providing for the people, arguing that salaries alone are not enough as up to 50 percent of Nigerians are self employed and would be out of work and unable to cater for themselves and families during the lockdown.
“The unfortunate thing is that the carriers who brought in the disease are mainly those who can cater for themselves in situations like this, but those who are bearing the brunt now are the common people who will be out of work.
“Most other countries are providing palliative for their citizens. This is a great opportunity for the governments to affect the lives of its citizens. We must avoid the dangers of uprising by the citizens when they are faced with hunger.
“We cannot run a nation without its citizens and our governments must ensure that the people survive, and are in good shape at the end of this painful season”, the group stated.