We discussed free electricity for Nigerians with Buhari, says Gbajabiamila

We discussed free electricity for Nigerians with Buhari, says Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday, said the leadership of the National Assembly discussed the issue of providing free electricity for Nigerians with President Muhammadu Buhari during their meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Gbajabiamila, he has always been passionate about the need to provide free electricity to Nigerians during the lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting with the president, Gbajabiamila said "You know I am very passionate about electricity for our people. Interestingly I brought it up today and we discussed that with the president and hopefully, in a matter of days, he will meet with the stakeholders on electricity.

"I impressed on him my position. The DisCos have their issues, no question about it, but at this point in time, we need to put that aside and think of the Nigerian people.

"The president listened very attentively and I think, hopefully, whatever the issues are, we will be able to resolve them at least for these two months and then long-term, how electricity will not be an issue but what is imperative right now, is when you ask people to remain at home, you must make that home a little bit comfortable for them."

The leadership of the National Assembly also demanded for a management committee which will be responsible for authorising releases from the donations being received to tackle the coronavirus in the country.

It has also hinted that being dissatisfied with the disbursement of money from the N500 billion Social Investment Programme (SIP), it may reconvene soon to deliberate on how best to put it to use as the nation heads into a critical phase.

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan while speaking with state correspondent called for a better coordination in the management of the donations received from individuals and organisations to fight against coronavirus, he revealed that they met the president to apprise him of what the national assembly leadership had resolved.

He said: "The leadership of the National Assembly has been holding series of meetings with ministers and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and this afternoon, we had an engagement with the president to discuss with him what we have resolved as leaders of the National Assembly and our opinion on various issues regarding the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria as well as going forward.

"For example, the various donations that we are receiving should go into a single account and should have a fund management committee that would be in charge of releases. Accountability and transparency require that we have that separation.

"It is also an opportunity for us to commend Nigerians and corporate bodies that have given us donations but we believe there should be more coordination as far as the management of the funds donated is concerned."

The senate president commended the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the COVID-19 pandemic for working hard to address the challenge confronting the nation.

"I believe the Presidential Task Force is doing a very good job, they have been very proactive and they deserve our commendation," he added.

On the SIP, he called for a review of its operations in a way that it will be beneficial to more Nigerians, especially those in category of people the programme was meant for.

According to the Senate President "We also believe that it is time to reform the way and manner we implement the social investment programme, This is a very important programme that is meant to help poor and vulnerable Nigerians and we believe that having implemented it for four years or more, we should be reviewing to evaluate the efficacy efficiency with which we have been implementing the programme."

The Senate President said the National Assembly is on standby to reconvene and thrash the issue of the N500 billion stimulus package on cushioning the effects of COVID-19 proposed by government when presented to it.

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