Reps vow to donate March, April salaries to fight COVID-19

In support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the House of Representatives have resolved to donate their two months salaries.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who made the announcement via social media, on Tuesday, said the donation would be their March and April salaries.
He said the two-month salary donation would be independent of the contributions by individual lawmakers to alleviate the hardships being faced by their constituents “at this time of national emergency.”
He said the green chamber would monitor the distribution and usage of cash and the material donations.
He also called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to give cash grants to 774 LGAs.
The Senate had on Monday pledged that Senators would sustain the donation of half of their salaries to the Federal Government until the nation is free of the pandemic.
Gbajabiamila had earlier on Sunday, via his Twitter handle, @femigbaja, said, “I just presided over an emergency meeting of the body of principal officers of @HouseNGR today Sunday, where we deliberated on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know that the pandemic affects all our constituents and Nigerians can be assured of our legislative intervention.”
According to a statement issued by his media office on Tuesday, which accompanied his video message to Nigerians, the Speaker said starting from March salary, the lawmakers’ donation would be transferred directly to the National Relief Fund account for the fight against the pandemic.
He said, “We have in the House of Representatives jointly committed to contributing 100 per cent of our salaries for the next two months to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“Our contribution will support provisions for the welfare of frontline medical professionals and health workers and other interventions, to provide for the wellbeing of all Nigerians through these trying times.
“Accordingly, I have directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to see to it that all members’ salaries are transferred to the National Relief Fund for this month and the next.
“This is independent of ongoing individual efforts by members to alleviate the suffering brought on by this virus and to improve the living conditions of citizens in their various constituencies.
The Speaker added that the House would exercise its oversight power to ensure faithful administration of all emergency funds and contributions made so far, to ensure they serve the purpose for which they were intended.
He said consequently, the House had already mandated the Committees on Health and Disaster Preparedness to “diligently oversee the distribution of items donated by local and foreign donors to ensure proper management.”
Gbajabiamila also said the House has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to make cash grants to the 774 local government areas of the country to alleviate the suffering by the masses.
He said, “The House also calls on the CBN, as part of its policy measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to immediately direct cash grants to the 774) LGA administrations in the country to provide food and other essentials to at-risk individuals and communities.”
The Speaker while imploring Nigerians to adhere strictly to the guidelines given by relevant authorities to prevent further spread of the disease, said, “This crisis has exposed in the worst possible way the evident weaknesses of our health system.
“After this is over and moving forward, we must do everything in our power to ensure that we will never again come upon a moment such as this, as ill-equipped as we are now.
“The transmission of this disease at a scale for which our systems are not prepared is our biggest present threat. We alleviate that threat by self-isolating. The bad news of this disease is that everyone is a potential victim, but the good news is that everyone is a potential solution.
“Keep in mind that if we do not rigorously follow these self-isolation guidelines, all our other efforts will at the end of the day come to nothing.
“Let this be for all of us, a time for introspection and prayer, a time to commune with God. Let us spend time with our children. Study, write, meditate and exercise. Do whatever you must to get through this period but do it at home.
“We are at war and our mission is first to survive, and then to overcome.
“These objectives require that we act in unison and remain laser-focused on the challenge at hand.

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