The Lagos State Government on Tuesday says it received a total of 107,546 food palliative packs from the Coalition Against COVID-19 pandemic (CA-COVID).
Speaking on behalf of the State Government, during the symbolic handover ceremony at the Lagos House, Ikeja, the Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said the food items were donated by CA-COVID in May.
Olusanya said that the food palliative packs were meant for the indigent residents of the state and the elderly.
”We are here today for the hand over ceremony of the Coalition Against COVOD-19 pandemic distribution for the food items that were donated by this group as far back as April-May.
“Lagos officially is just taking receipt of it and we want to launch this distribution in a couple of days.
”According to the CA-COVID team, Lagos State is supposed to receive 107,546 beneficiary packs for our citizens – for the indigents, the elderly, for those that do not have the wherewithal or the capacity to have food on their table on a daily basis.
”Now for this 107,546 beneficiary packs, each pack contains 10 kilograms of rice, five kilograms of garri, five kilograms of sugar, one kilogram of salt, two cartons of noodules (Indomie) and one carton of pasta.
“That is what a single beneficiary will get for his or her family,” she said.
According to her, the food items are being repackaged by the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that each beneficiary gets the right quantity of items.
”We do not want a situation where they receive the items and they claim that they have not received garri or they have not received rice.
”That is why under the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, we have taken the pains to get bags marked, to print on them the Lagos State logo, the CA-COVID logo and to put these items in each pack, such that we have transparency across board.
”But nonetheless, with regard to the 107,546 packs, we are still repackaging and so far, the team has been able to repackage about 50,000 beneficiary packs.
”Until we finish repackaging, before we can ascertain and say this is the quantity that we have actually received as Lagos State.
”So currently, about 50,000 is what we will say we have taken possession of and we will start with the redistribution in the next couple of days,” she said.
The Acting Commissioner said that the CA-COVID team was also working with the ministry to ensure that all were on the same board.
She said that in terms of the distribution modality, the state would borrow a leaf from the experience during the lockdown period when it pioneered the distribution of over 50,000 food beneficiary packs.
”We will be going along the route of using the local government, as well as using our groups.
”When I talk about our groups, I am referring to the artisans and tradesmen groups, I am referring to the religious bodies, I am referring to people with disabilities, I am referring to the transporters union, I am referring to so many groups that cut across different cadres of society.
”The idea around this is also to use the ministries that have these people as their stakeholders to help in the distribution, such that we are able to reach the right people and there is also transparency across board.
“We can also hold people accountable for the redistribution,” Olusanya said.
Also speaking, the CA-COVID State Representative, Mr Amaechi Okobi, commended the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the tireless efforts at ensuring things went well doing the lockdown.
”There is no gainsaying that COVID-19 took us by surprise but with people like you supporting us, we would win this battle.
”The Commissioner has been very eloquent in exactly about what we have done.
“The idea here is to take care of our fellow men. No fewer than 1,666,667 Nigerians need our help.
”All Nigerians need our help but we focused on the lowest five per cent to ensure that in this extremely tough time, they are at least fed.
”We have lockdown that prevented them from working. So, they need help. Could we do more? We will love to and could the Governor do more, I know he will love to do more.
“But this is a start and we are just basically saying that Nigerians for Nigeria are fighting this fight,” Okobi said.
He said that the efforts to get the food and palliatives were gigantic but to distribute the food was even more because some problems would be encountered.
”So, I ask on behalf of the CA-COVID that you continue to support to ensure that every Nigerian that the commissioners mentioned gets these items.
”It is critical. It impacts our credibility. It impacts the work of serious people that want to actually do something,” Okobi said. (NAN)