The Benue state Government yesterday flagged of the distribution of palliatives for the most vulnerable in the state .
The state Governor, His Excellency Samuel Ortom who was represented at the event by his Deputy, Engr Benson Abounu performed the ceremony at the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, BSEMA, Makurdi. He explained that the palliatives were donated through the collaborative efforts of the Coalition of Private Organizations against Covid-19 and the Benue state government to cushion the hardship occasioned by the pandemic.
The food items donated include; 96,623 cartons of Noddles, 49,401 10kg bags of rice, 49,201 bags of salt, 49,201 bags of semovita, 49,201 bags of sugar and 49,201 bags of spaghetti.
The Governor cautioned against the diversion of the items to people who did not lack food, saying it was meant specifically for the “poorest of the poor”. He added that the local government chairmen will not share the items, but a committee will be set up to handle the task and it will be drawn from the clergy, traditional institution, civil society and other sectors.
Ortom said while Cacovid provided the food items, the state government provided the warehouses to accommodate the foods and also paid the security personnel to guard it. He thanked Alh. Aliko Dangote who is the Chairman of Cacovid which according to him is the highest distributor of palliatives not only in Benue but across the country, Nigeria. He disclosed that through Cacovid, Benue state got 200 beds for their isolation facility.
The Governor expressed disappointment over the failure of the Oil sector that promised to give them 200 beds for isolation units but did not fulfill it. He said that with the increasing number of positive cases in Benue, they now have shortage of treatment equipment and have resorted to home treatment by treating Covid-19 positive cases in isolated places of their houses.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Executive Secretary, BSEMA, Dr Emmanuel Shior stressed that the targeted beneficiaries of the palliatives were the most vulnerable in the state. He made it clear that BSEMA under his watch will never give the items to other people contrary to those selected by the Benue state Action Committee on Covid-19.
In her address, the leader of Cacovid in Benue state, Mrs Fanen Nduur said the fight against Covid-19 is a collective one, hence the collaboration between Cocavid and the government. She appreciated the support of Governor Ortom to the Cacovid team in Benue state.
In a remark on behalf of the local government chairmen in the state, Hon. Prince Samuel Onuh, Ogbadibo Local Government Chairman who spoke on behalf of the state ALGON chairman, Hon. Caleb Abah assured that there will be no diversion of the items. He said they would rather add to what Cacovid had provided.