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Coronavirus: PRP centures and cautions gov’t over palliatives

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The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has lambasted the Federal Government of Nigeria and some states concerning the provision and distribution of palliatives designed to alleviate the hardship that citizens are passing through as a result of lockdown ordered by the government.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Abdul Gombe and made available to newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

The full statement reads:

“COVID-19 has turned out to be a terrible disease that has not only frustrated medical intelligence but has sunk the entire Human Race into utter confusion. In the absence of any known cure, Governments across the world have been rattled and almost all have adopted Social Distancing and Lockdown, Masking and Sanitization Policies as the only measures to counter the spread of the disease that has long been declared a Pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The disease has so far affected over 1.5million people with deaths inching towards 100,000 persons.

In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governments in developed nations like the United States of America, members of the European Union, Canada, China and Russia and developing nations such as Ghana, Rwanda and Nigeria in the African Continent have all in varying degrees decided on Lockdown as one of the measures to counter spread of Covid 19. This measure has meant forcing citizens to stay at home for weeks with each Government agreeing and putting in place some palliative measures to protect their citizens against hunger and amelirioting the hardships such knockdowns will cause both the citizens and their businesses that would naturally suffer from such lockdowns.

The British government for example as part of its palliatives has announced 80% pay relief for 3 months to all their workers locked as well as some bailout loans to the businesses. The United States Government has approved a $2trillion package in Phase 1 of its Palliatives which has seen direct payments to citizens and bail out of both small, medium and large enterprises.

Coming home to Africa, we have heard of the Ghanian Government announcing reliefs for its locked down citizens and special palliatives for its health workers in frontline duties confronting the scourge. In Rwanda, we have seen sizeable food items in social media being distributed to those locked down.

In Nigeria, we have seen lockdowns ordered by quite a number of State Governments and the Federal Government in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States with:

●Most of the States where the lockdowns have been ordered have asked their citizens to remain indoors for 2 weeks in the first instance with promises of some reliefs;
● The Federal Government promising or in fact announcing that 2.6million of its poor have been doled out N20,000.00 each within 4 days; and,
● The Federal Government started a process of putting in place a N500billion fund to assist businesses overcome challenges brought about by Covid-19.

To supplement above measures, we have seen some rich Nigerians donating up to billions of naira to the Covid-19 Support Fund to compliment efforts of the Federal and State Governments in addressing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), as a Political Party in Nigeria and indeed the Voice of the Voiceless of the Nigerian Talaka, welcome and congratulate the Federal and State Governments that have taken measures to help the Nigerian Talaka and also thanks all those philanthropists that have assisted but wish to use this medium to challenge the Governments of the wrongs so far committed in their efforts shown above as highlighted below:

A. Sharing of N20,000.00 each to 2.6million Nigerians.

Sharing of N20,000.00 each to 2.6million Nigerians by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Services and Disaster Management within 4 days has been found by the PRP as very hard to believe and we consider the action fraudulent which need to be urgently addressed by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government elected on the mantra on probity and accountability.

The PRP hereby demand that President Muhammadu Buhari ask the Minister of Hunanitarian Services and Disaster Management to immediately tell Nigerians:
a) The names, location of the 2.6 million Nigerians given N20,000.00 each;
b) The methodology used in the disbursement of the said N5,200,000,000.00 to 2.6million Nigerians; and,
c) The source of this N5.2billion and if it came from the Public Treasury, when it was appropriated to the said Ministry by the National Assembly in accordance with our Laws.

Should the Ministry fail to give Nigerians above answers, we will ask and continue to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to order prove of this payment as well as the questionable disbursement of the loans to 18,200 Nigerians granted by National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) notwithstanding the feeble attempt made recently by His Special Assitant on Social Investment in response to the justifiable questions raised by the National Assembly on these loans to answer some grey areas on the source of funds used and disbursement of the loans.

Where Mr President fail through his Minister and other appointees to satisfactory answer the questions as to who were paid money or given loans in Nigeria, the National Assembly as representatives of the Peoples of Nigeria should (as expected of them by Nigerians) should rise to the challenge by openly probing:

1. NSIP loans to 18,200 Nigerians; and,
2.Payment of N20,000.00 each to 2.6million Nigerians in 4 days as palliative to the poor for Covid-19.

We see satisfactory answers to above as the litmus tests of President Muhammadu Buhari Presidency against which the Nigeria Talaka that almost worshiped him will judge him and his administration.

B. Lockdown of Nigerians Without Sustenance.

Although lockdowns are so far one of the surest ways of containing the scourge of Corvid-19, the measure as far as PRP is concerned should be looked at with some common sense and logic which are lacking in current policies which show brutal force exhibition rather than logic and common sense. In almost all the States that have ordered lockdown, we have not seen any meaningful sustenance been put in place to ensure that those locked down are fed. Our investigation amongst our members in some metropolis have shown that quite a number of people now feed only once a day and that too, not from what the Governments have provided but from what neighbours and relations have helped with.

We want the State Governments that ordered for Lockdowns to realise that many of their citizens (some in the majority in a number of such States), have to go out daily to earn a living before they can feed themselves and their families.

Consequently, we in the PRP urge and demand that:
a) The State Governments that have ordered Lockdowns in their States must provide for sustainance for those locked down beyond what we have so far seen of providing a 50 kg bag of rice, carton of indomie, a gallon of oil and small measure of beans for 80 families and we consider this inhumane and certainly unacceptable;

b. Where sustainance can not be provided to people (and we believe reasonable sustainance can not be provided, we demand that they be allowed to come out and earn their livings within reasonable controls.

Yes, wholesale lockdown of people in our environment and social circumstances is not only inappropriate and ultimately unsustainable but also a lazy and uncreative response to the pandemic. It must be relaxed in an orderly and humane manner.

Indeed we must state that a more effective response should have involved:
a) Wide establishment of Testing Centers for the virus where communities can have easy access for the determination of their status thereby nipping the spread in the bud as we saw in Germany instead of NCDC wasting billions in sending text messages;
b) Mass production and distribution of face masks and teaching the populace how to produce and sanitize their face masks;
c) Social Distancing in public areas and markets,
d) Limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persond;and,
d. Prevention of religious gathering.

Adoption of the above measures even in these hours in the day are more realistic and strategic and would be more effective and relevant in our circumstances and strongly recommended in preference to lockdowns.

As the Federal and State Committtees on COVID-19 continue with their assignments, they are strongly advised to address these two pertinen issues:

1). The impact of the pandemic coming at this time of the year on productivity particularly in the Agricultural Sector which is the main employer of labour in Nigeria. Ensure that productivity is sustained else the nation will face famine and near total collapse of the economy; and,
2). The increase in the level of poverty in the land to be brought about by the pandemic need to be critically looked into and amelirioted and here palliatives need to be agreed to and transparently put in place to address growth in poverty in the land.

We end this Press Release by asking the Federal Government to bring accountability, humaness and thinking out of the box in the measures it would adopt in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. We also ask the State Governments that ordered Lockdown to consider the alternative policy option put in this Press Release. We will also warn that the Governments of Nigeria should not push the Talaka of Nigeria to the wall as any human being locked up without food beyond reason can become unreasonable and should not be blamed for reacting when and if he does.

Finally, we appreciate the painstaking sacrifices that Nigerians have been subjected to in the Lockdown of our cities and towns with consequential inconveniences. We also appreciate sacrifices of our health workers involved in handling Coronavirus infections as well as the contributions made by our philanthropists.

May Almighty God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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PRP Mourns Alhaji Umar Babankwata of Adamawa State

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The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has expressed sadness over the demise of one of the Adamawa State’s respected elder statesmen and PRP strong pillars, Alhaji Umar Babankwata.

The PRP in a press release signed by its National Chairman, Alhaji Falalu Bello described as shocking, the death of former party’s state chairman whom he said was an ardent nationalist and NEPU stalwart who has led PRP in Adamawa State since its establishment in 1978.

Bello said, “Although he recently retired from his position of State Chairmanship of our great Party, the PRP, his views and advice remained very much sought after by patriotic politicians across the board.

“With his passing, PRP family has lost one of its best and patriotic stakeholders. His sterling leadership qualities, uprightness and sense of diligence will be surely missed by all of us.

“Indeed, Umar Baban Kwata’s death is a painful loss not only to his family and the people of Adamawa state but also to our great party, the PRP and our nation, Nigeria, at large.

“The PRP is particularly pained that Babankwata passed away at a time when his fatherly wisdom and elderly skills were still most needed.

“I therefore, on behalf of the PRP, commiserate with Alhaji Umaru Baban Kwata family, and pray that Allah forgive all his worldly sins, admit him into Jannah of the highest order and grant all his family members the fortitude to bear this painful loss,” he added.

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Professor Jega, Others Task Nigerian Youth on Active Participation in Politics

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Discussing the Nigerian Youth and the of building a just, united and materially advanced nation. The conference which was conducted via ZOOM (a virtual meeting application) on Saturday, 18th of July 2020, was marked by the participation of prominent Nigerians from within and outside Nigeria.

Professor Attahiru Jega who was the first speaker of the occasion discussed the roles of INEC in stabilizing democracy in Nigeria through Free, Fair and Credible Elections. He introduced by emphasizing the needs for youth to be actively engaged in all electoral processes which will improve remarkably well the credence in elections and a consequence of qualitatively better elected executives and representatives, which is an absolute requirement for nurturing good democratic governance and socioeconomic development in Nigeria, he went on to enlightened the public on elections in a liberal democracy, roles of election management bodies and the roles of INEC.

Furthermore, he pointed out some outstanding reforms and improvements needed to be addressed before 2023 in order to improve our electoral processes, and some of the recommendations proffered are;

a. The legal framework needs to be remarkably improved upon. The Electoral Act 2010 As Amended could be said to be better than previous electoral legislations, but it also needs further improvements. This must be done in good time before the 2023 general elections.

b. INEC needs to continuously refine and improve its deployment of technology in the electoral process. At the same time, it has to continuously train and retrain its staff towards requisite professionalism in the management and operational conduct of elections, learning from global best practices.

c. The independence of INEC and, especially, SIECS, administratively and financially need to be strengthened and protected from executive interference and/ or subversion.

d. The fight against corruption and use of money to subvert peoples will and electoral choices need to be made even more vigorously.

e. Political parties need to be repositioned and internally democratized to ensure that good quality candidates emerge democratically for elections. The corrupt roles of the party bureaucrats, “godfathers”, “moneybags”, and Governors, etc., need to be curtailed, with legislation and appropriate sanctions.

Significantly, all stakeholders have to be engaged in the appropriate nurturing of a democratic political culture generally, and electoral integrity specifically. All stakeholders need to recognize that the business of nurturing democracy, good governance and electoral integrity is a collective responsibility. All hands must be joined together on deck, to bring this about.

He reminded the youth of the special role they need to play towards improving the integrity and credibility of our electoral processes and in nurturing and consolidating our democracy towards good governance and sustainable development.

The professor concluded by emphasizing that Youth should be active, constructive and pro actively involve in our electoral and political processes should be a must and that all must dedicate energies in finding ways and means of bringing this to reality as soon as possible.

In his words ‘’As I often say, more and more nowadays, we must stop agonizing and focus on organizing”.
The second speaker Dauda Umaru Adamu, PhD candidate, Rice University, USA, spoke on The Economic Empowerment of Youth Geared Towards Poverty alleviation in Nation Building and adopted a multiple sectoral approach to the topic starting from history to the present.

He stated that Nigeria’s major imports are Refined Petroleum, wheat, and packaged medicants, which are in billions of dollars. Nigeria Still import wheat when out of the 84million hectares of land for farming only 32million hectares is been cultivated at the moment.

He added that young Nigerians are being drown in the Mediterranean in their bid to escape the economic hardship of the country. Lack of jobs, corruption, bad economic policies, lack of care and protection of our local industries are responsible.

He advised that Nigeria should learn from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, who after the discovery of oil, used the proceeds to developed other sectors of their economy. Their corruption rate is low unlike Nigeria, the 146th least corrupt country in the world.

Intellectual property is one of the cardinal assets for economic growth. He lay emphasis that failure to develop our educational system tons us of this.
He further asked if our representatives at the world Trade Organization are truly putting forward the interest of our local industries? Do they interact with the small businesses which depend on foreign market to understand their plight?

The Speaker concluded his presentation with the following recommendations:
– There is need to develop our intellectual property to fast track economic growth.

– Revitalization of local industries, boosting our Agricultural and Manufacturing sectors.

– Development and promotion of indigenous businesses and industries. While the third Speaker made us to understand that it is high time youth take the front line in fight to changing the narratives of corruption and maladministration which has kept us in a state of poverty and backwardness.

Engr. Mustafa Bello who was the third speaker presented on the topic ‘’The role of youth in Nation building through mass mobilization’’ started by challenging the youth to take the front line in fight to changing the narratives of corruption and maladministration which has kept us in a state of poverty and backwardness. His presentation was centered on the role of youth and the adverse effects of their refusal to participate in politics.

He advised the youth to take a stand and decide who should and should not be on the saddle of power by pushing forward and supporting credible candidates, that way the narrative of the nation will change in good time, He concluded.

The National Chairman of Peoples Redemption Party, Alhaji Falalu Bello in his closing remark appreciated all participants of the conference especially the Guest Speakers and further acknowledging the efforts of the youth leaders for putting up such an amazing program.

He encouraged the youth to do more promising that the National body will fully support subsequent programme alike.

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PRP VS FG: Court Fixes Date For Hearing

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed a date for the hearing of suit filed by the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) against the Federal Government and Kaduna State Government over the lockdown that had been imposed on Nigerians for some months ago by the governments.

The court has, in its ruling by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on Monday, fixed 14th October, 2020 for hearing of the matter.

The court has also ordered service of both the originating summons and hearing notice to be served on the Attorney General of the Federation and the Attorney General of Kaduna State.

It could be recalled that the plaintiffs which include the party’s National Chairman in person of Alhaji Falalu Bello, OFR and the National Secretary of the party, Babatunde Alli had, on behalf of the party, sued the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Kaduna State Government over their failure to provide sustainance to citizens locked down during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In an originating summons filed on behalf of the Plaintiffs by Barr. Saleh Jibril, the plaintiffs were praying for court’s declaration that persons locked down under the pandemic are entitled to provision of sustenance by the government. The plaintiffs were also praying the court for an order to compel the defendants to provide the necessary sustenance to persons locked down.

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