Abuja -Two senators have urged ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to increase its proposed monthly allowance for unemployed Nigerians from N5,000, saying the amount was inadequate for alleviating their hardship.
The senators, who are Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) separately in Abuja, that APC should evolve a better welfare scheme that would assuage the pains of the unemployed and aged.
According to Sen. Foster Ogola (PDP-Bayelsa West), while the N5,000 monthly stipend promised by the APC is a good idea, it is not the solution to the needs of the people.
“The N5,000 palliative promised by the APC led government is not the solution to the endemic problem of poverty in the country; we have to teach Nigerians how to fish, not just give them fish.
“There must be a proper welfare scheme that takes care of the aged, who have served Nigeria; people, who have not received their entitlement, neither gratuity nor pension benefits.
“A soldier, for instance, cannot fight and after 35 years, still have to struggle to get his entitlement.
“As it is done abroad, the moment you are 70 years or more, you are entitled to free medical care; they are called the ‘seniors’ and they don’t pay transport fare,’’ he said.
Ogola also urged the Federal Government to urgently implement policies that would ensure development of data on persons qualified for the N5,000 stipend, while working out a better welfare package for all workers.
He said, “for you to govern well you must have your facts right; you must have you population right.
He pledged the National Assembly’s commitment to support the executive in the effort to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
On his part, Sen. Clifford Ordia (PDP-Edo Central) said it was not enough for the APC to promise a stipend of N5,000 without putting measures in place for its actualisation.
While admitting that the country was currently facing economic challenges, Ordia said the government could fulfil its promise if it prioritised its programmes.
“It is time for the APC to begin to fulfil its promise to Nigerians; the time has come for it to fulfil the promise it made to the people.
“For a programme like welfare package, if the party has done its homework very well, I think six months is enough time to start implementation; I hope APC does not renege on its promise.
“Now that President Buhari has sworn in ministers, I think the first port-of-call should be to implement the welfare scheme, considering the high level of poverty and suffering in the country. (NAN)