COVID-19: Lagos lawyer, Abdulahi waves 3 months’ rent for his tenants in Lagos, Edo…urges govts to re-organize distribution of food items, cash over congestion

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By Robert AKPAN, Senior Investigator Reporter, Lagos/

LAGOS Lawyer, Chief Abdulahi Tony Dania has waved three months’ rent for his tenants in Lagos and Edo State respectively as a means of cushioning the biting effects of the Corona-virus Pandemic.  The erudite legal practitioner said he was not doing it to show off but because Nigerians would have to experience some unusual conditions while obeying the stay at home order from the federal and state governments to contain the spread of the killer virus. He therefore, wants other spirited individuals including corporate organizations to do same as part of their social responsibility. While commending the efforts of the federal government especially, the Lagos State government in the fight against the corona virus pandemic, the respected lawyer wants a re-organization of the present distribution of cash and foodstuffs to avoid overcrowding of the centers; adding that representatives of the people such as traditional rulers, group heads, ward Chairmen could be used to distribute these items to indigent persons without causing overcrowding which was the major reason while the stay at home order was enacted. His words: “I must commend the Governments, particularly the Governor of Lagos State, for all the efforts made so far in contending this ‘coro’. I thank members of the medical team who have continually risked their lives to save lives. I also thank the donors of billions of naira in cash and in kind, to the Federal government and the Lagos State Government, to augment government’s logistics in the fight against corona-virus pandemic. I am a Legal practitioner with just 5 juniors and 6 staff (including 2 security men). I want to plead with the Federal government and Lagos State Government,  all Landlords/Landladies, including Governments, all the banks, other financial institutions, that granted loans that re subsisting, owners of schools (including universities), private and public, all telephone services operators, all cable and internet services providers, all public utility services operators like water Corporation, LAWMA, IKEDC, etc, should grant waivers of rents, suspension of the payment of interest on loans, payment for services,  cable TV, data, electricity bills, etc, without  interrupting the enjoyment of those services, tenancy, data, cable and internet services, free, for 3 Months, starting from 1st of  April 2020 and terminating on the 1st of July 2020. I want to start with myself and assist within the limits of my ability. All my tenants at Apapa, Jakande Estate Oke Afa, Isolo and at Solape in Ejigbo, all in Lagos State, and those in South Ibie Iyakpi, in Etsako West, Edo State, have been and are hereby requested not to pay any rent to me or my Agent, for 3 months, starting from 1st of April – 1st of July 2020. While implementing the above, I urge the Federal government to re-organize the supplies of foods or cash to indigent citizens and residents, because the current arrangement where people come to designated centers, is encouraging crowded gatherings with its attendant risks of the spread of corona virus.”

Continuing, Barrister Abdulahi said, “Every Street and Estate has EXCO, we have Obas, Bales, Olori-Ebis, Eze Ndigbo, Seriki Hausa, in every main Town in Lagos State, and in Nigeria. In every State we have a CP, Area Commanders, DPOs, NURTW, Presidents of various “Kparakpos” Unions, Chief Imams, General Over-Seers, Pastors, etc. You would have used them to convince the populace to voluntarily comply with all the restriction directives and recommended safety measures. The riots in Katsina on the last Jumat and in Warri could have been avoided. They can also be used to distribute foods and other items to indigent persons among them. The use of force, as it is currently been done or violent assaults against violators of the restrictive order, might cause avoidable a communal reaction, as it happened in Warri. Most Nigerians are hungry and angry.  Whereas, those afore mentioned persons could have easily reached their neighbours to educate and persuade them. There would have been an almost 100 percent compliance.”

On the recent reduction of petroleum pump price, Barrister Abdulahi who commended the federal government however, urged a further reduction from the present N125 to N75 per liter within the period under review saying that nearly every home across the nation uses Premium Motor Spirit PMS otherwise known as fuel.  He said, “The absence of electricity in majority of homes is a very big problem. Almost everybody is using generator.  Seventy per cent of available generators use petrol. This is a serious issue. The N2 further reduction in the price P/liter of petrol is good, but it is insignificant. The FGN should reduce the price to N75 P/L of petrol for just 30 days, 1st of April to 1st of May; let petrol sell for 75k per liter and restore it back to the normal price after 30 days. Do this and you shall know by popular reactions, how appreciative Nigerians can be. The FGN can achieve N75 P/L of petrol for 30 days, by using the funds so far donated and calling for more donations, and getting the Major and Independent Oil Marketers to cooperate, whichever was possible. The fight against corona virus is a battle we must win, by the grace of God. The Local Governments are yet to be seen in any proactive action. The same persons mentioned above, can also be used to sustain the “stay at home” directive, and to also identify those who might have the decease without stigmatizing him/her, convincing him or her to isolate, then call on Nigeria Center for Disease Control NDCD or any other relevant Government Agency, to come for the person. Text kits are available (not from China, please), the landing cost is expensive for now, but a Government supervised syndication in each town or estates or combination of 5 streets in a village or town, can procure one. On my street we fixed the road and we are currently working on getting a transformer (with the supervision of IKEDC) to boast electricity supplies. Lagos State Government is a pacesetter.  I plead with them to implement the above. My next advice after the exit of corona-virus which will be very soon, Insha Allah and in Jesus name, would be how LSG can achieve the fixing of not less than 5 streets in every LGA every Month, that is, 60 streets, every year in each LGA. But, first, let’s join hands in sending this corona virus packing from Nigeria. Finally, while we wait for our scientists to come up with a vaccine or cure for corona-virus, I want us to also encourage our herbal medicine doctors to research on a possible cure for the virus. You never can tell, we might find a Nigeria cure for it. God bless Nigeria.”

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