Let The Poor Breathe: Akpabio Denies Making Jest Of Suffering Nigerians 

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Senate President, Godswill Akpabio has denied reports that he is mocking the poor in Nigeria when he said ‘Let the poor breathe’.

On Tuesday, Akpabio, while urging the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the electricity distribution companies to stop their proposed electricity tariff increment, passed a motion in a manner many considered ridiculous.

“The prayer is that, let the poor breathe, and Senator Mustapha has seconded that the poor should breathe. Those who are in support of the additional prayer that the poor should be allowed to breathe, say ‘ayes’ and those who are against say ‘nay,’” Akpabio had said jocularly as echoes of laughter reverberated at plenary.

In response, the senators said, “aye”, to which Akpabio said, “The ayes have it! The poor must be allowed to breathe.”

However, following criticisms from some Nigerians, Akpabio in a statement by his media office said the Senate president and his colleagues will never make jokes about the current plight of the Nigerian people.
The full statement reads “We are deeply concerned about the negative tilting of a very harmless statement by President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, about his deep concern and that of the Senate on the plight of the ordinary Nigerians as a result of the prevailing economic situation in the country.

The statement “Let The People Breathe” made during Plenary on 26th July 2023, was made by Senator Akintunde Abiodun while speaking on the motion to halt the planned electricity tariff hike.

We want to assure the general public that all matters discussed during Senate sessions are of utmost importance and are treated with great seriousness by the President of the Senate and his Distinguished colleagues.

It is crucial to clarify that the intentions of the mover of the motion and the comments of the President of the Senate were never to make light of the hardships, suffering and economic challenges faced by Nigerians at this critical juncture.

The purpose of the proposal was to firmly reject any plan of increasing electricity tariffs for Nigerians, considering the ongoing economic challenges that Nigerians are faced with.

The primary focus of the current National Assembly under the Chairmanship of Senator Akpabio is on the implementation of effective and well-structured policies that truly benefit the people. He has repeatedly assured Nigerians that the current Senate will work for all Nigerians.

The President of the Senate deeply empathises with Nigerians and has never considered the current economic crisis in the country as a matter of jest.

His unwavering commitment lies in serving the best interests of the Nigerian people with the release of the ministerial list and the subsequent screening and swearing-in of the ministers we have high hopes that the newly appointed officials will promptly address the challenges and bring the much needed relief and succour to all citizens, thereby, easing the current hardship and pains experienced by Nigerians”.

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