How NGF, World Bank, plan to pay the poor $1.8Bn in 36 states soon


By Codratus Godson

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says it is discussing with the World Bank as a development partner to support a post-COVID-19 scheme that aims to put N5,000 to each household in 200,000 households in the 36 states of the federation.

The chairman of the NGF, Gov Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who spoke to Ibim Semenitari’s facebook YouTube programme Thursday evening (April 2 2020) from isolation which was made available to Silver News, said the monthly payments would last for 18 months.

He disclosed that $50m would go to each state of the 36 states in a scheme to tackle hunger after the crisis. “We at the NGF have considered that social protection/intervention is important. In Ekiti State, we already have a scheme for widows, the youth, etc. On the Coronavirus issue, we have given relief to 30,000 households in few days so far. We paid salaries for March on 25th. There is also a part of conditional social payment

“The governors consider that beyond emergency mode, we must think about post-COVID-19 era. We must plan for life after the virus. That is why we are restructuring the budgets of the states. Just few hours ago, I was speaking with our development partners, the World Bank, on social protection for the 36 states for a scheme that would put N5,000 in the hands of a household (poor and vulnerable) for 18 months. This will amount to $50m per state for 18 months.”

Speaking more on hunger, the governor who is now testing negative, said: “Many people say that the looming crisis as a result of COVID-19 could be called HUNGERVID-20. They are asking how the governors are planning to handle hunger in the face of the fact that most persons are daily income earners that eat only after each day’s work and we are saying ‘do not go out”.

He went on: “This is a legitimate concern to the governors, but every literature I have read on this matter recommends use of shock therapy so as to suffer once and hope to escape the bigger problem; this shock therapy is closure of borders, restriction of movement or total lockdown. Yet, we are only applying half measure such as partial lockdown like people selling in front of their houses and avoid crowding and touching. Do not imperil social distancing objective.”

Reacting to how to convince the masses on the need to isolate and keep distances including social distancing, Dr Fayemi said: “I agree that communication is an issue and that is my special area. Many want to know how we can drill the message down so that the ordinary folks can buy into it

“This is a big challenge and I don’t even know anymore. Its very difficult to tell a Nigerian not to backslap, hug, and shake hands. Nobody yet has a relation who died of COVID-19, so, it sounds Greek to the people. No Okada rider or farmer has died. So, its not for them, not their portion. This is affecting the seriousness of the message. Nigerians believe in touch. So, until it touches them, they won’t believe the messages.”