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Include house rent in stimulus package, NGO tells government


A non-governmental organization, International Center for Human Rights, Non-violence and Safety Awareness has called on the government to extend its palliatives beyond provision of foodstuffs. The NGO, in a statement signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Barr. Ene Unobe, wants house rent to be included in stimulus package.
It reads: “Government’s restriction of movement order, which includes the directive for citizens to stay at home in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, is in good faith. This lockdown is taking its toll on individuals and families’ efforts to meet basic obligations. As a human right NGO, we have been inundated with communications by distressed Nigerians who have started falling victims of economic problems associated with this unforeseen shutdown.

“Without delving into the adequacy of the promised incentives, it is our submission that food supply cannot satisfy the direct and indirect losses of this category of Nigerians. Good as this basic necessity is, other disruptions occasioned by this sudden clampdown have to be looked into by government in order to properly manage the lockdown order and the post-COVID 19 socio-economic upheavals that will erupt such as unpaid rents, accumulated bank charges, bank loans, loss of jobs, school fees and other forms of indebtedness or financial obligations.”

The NGO stated that to tackle these problems, there is need for government “to give directives that landlords should observe moratorium on payment of rents for at least three months starting from April 2020. As a consequence, lawsuits by landlords on recovery of premises at this time should be discouraged for the same period of time.

“Contractual obligations to banks and other financial institution on loans should be relaxed. Government’s rates and taxes that directly impact on the poor and private sector should be suspended or reduced to the barest minimal for the time being as well as massive financial support for the organized private sector to enable them pay salaries of their staff and other operational costs.”


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