The Minister of state for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has urged MTN, Glo, Airtel and other telecommunication companies to consider giving out free airtime and data to Nigerians, as the nation continues to battle the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19).
He also appealed to Dstv and StarTimes to offer Nigerians at least one month free subscription.
Mr Keyamo made the appeal on Monday via a Twitter post.
2. I would also urge @MTNNG @9mobileng @AirtelNigeria @GloWorld to consider giving Nigerians some token airtime & data to ease their pains & to ensure that communication with individuals & authorities is ensured in cases of emergencies, especially when toll-free numbers are busy
— Festus Keyamo, SAN (@fkeyamo) March 30, 2020
He said such gesture should be a contribution from the service providers “to ease the pains of Nigerian workers at this time of lockdown”.
He said free airtime and data would help Nigerians communicate with one another and the authorities during an emergency “especially when toll-free numbers are busy”.
Mr Keyamo said he was making the appeal “as one of the Ministers entrusted with the welfare of Nigerian workers”.
Most Nigerians, restricted to their homes, are struggling to cope with the lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Nigeria stood at 111 as of Sunday night, with over 2,000 people said to have been tested so far.
As at the time of writing, Lagos has 68 cases; Abuja – 21, Ogun – three, Ekiti – one, Oyo – seven, Osun – two, Enugu – two, Edo – two, Bauchi – two, while Benue, Kaduna, and Rivers have one case respectively.
Many Nigerians have in recent days called on telecom companies to offer free packages to Nigerians. On Monday, #freedata trended on Twitter.