COVID-19: Govs back lockdown, ask Buhari to give palliatives to Nigerians

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The Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, has demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari government suspend all States’ deductions and restructure all debt service due to the coronavirus crisis.

The body also urged the federal government to initiate fiscal measures to safeguard the liquidity of state governments.

The demands were contained in a communique on Friday signed by the NGF Chairman and Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi.

It was released after the second COVID-19 Teleconference Meeting the governors held with the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq.

The parley discussed palliatives to support vulnerable households nationwide as many were no longer making any income.

The communique disclosed that governors further discussed the legality of lockdowns in states.

It read in part: “Forum called for urgent fiscal measures to safeguard the liquidity of State governments, including the acceleration of an arrangement to suspend all State deductions and restructure all debt service payments on federal government and CBN-owned debts.

“Members also received a stimulus incentive from the Federal Government to support vulnerable households across states to cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods in the coming months.”

The Governors expressed commitment to lead the effort through state focal persons in charge of social protection to ensure that palliatives, including food and cash transfers to Nigerians.

“Members also discussed the legality or otherwise of lockdowns in other states around the country and resolved to maintain the status quo until the Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State resolved the matter with the Presidential Committee on COVID-19.”

The communique added that the lockdown had provided an avenue to send essential food items to citizens.

On Thursday, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) faulted Buhari and Governors for locking down states without provision of basic amenities amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

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