By Gbenga Alokolaro, Ado Ekiti
In a bid to bring succour to indigent households during the period of movement restriction occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi on Tuesday flagged-off cash transfer to 5,000 households in collaboration with the National Cash Transfer Office and Ekiti State Cash Transfer unit.
The flag-off ceremony which took place at Fajuyi Pavilion, Ado-Ekiti, signaled the commencement of the cash transfer at designated pay points across the 16 local government in the state. It came barely 24 hours after the state government commenced the distribution of food items to indigent people in the state to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
Performing the disbursement of the cash transfer in Ado-Ekiti, Dr Fayemi said each beneficiary would receive between N20,000 and N60,000 which is a four months arrears from January to April, 2020.
The governor, who was represented by the Director-General. Office of Transformation and Service Delivery, Prof. Bolaji Aluko. said the programme which had been on since 2016 was just being flagged-off as part of government’s efforts to assist poor households during this period of global pandemic where people were being forced to stay at home as a way of checking the spread of the deadly virus.
According to him, “This is not the first cash transfer we are doing in the state, this has been a programme that has been going on for a little while, since 2016 but this is the first major public show of the things we have been doing quietly as a state which is part of the larger National Social Investment Programme that the President Mohamadu Buhari administration started and this state has been part of it.
“We feel that this particular time when this Covid-19 disease is rearing its ugly head in the country is the right time to disburse the cash to serve as palliative to benefitting households. What we are doing right now is equally being done in some other states of the federation. You would recollect that we flagged-off distribution of food packs to some indigent citizens yesterday, and we still have other incentives to give to our people as a form of succour which would be unveiled in the course of time.
“All these efforts of the government are geared toward making life easy for Ekiti citizens to live happily and well during this difficult time. I want to assure you that this administration is a caring government that put the people at the centre of all their plans”.
The governor used the opportunity to remind the benefitting households that the programme is called Household Uplifting Programme (HUP) and hence all members of the household must benefit from the cash. He advised them to make judicious use of the money during this period as government was on top of the Covid-19 situation in the state.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Social Investment Programme (SIP), Barr. Victor Kolade, said the intention of the programme was to take care of the downtrodden in the society, adding that the components of SIP include social security programme for the elderly (Owo Arugbo); conditional cash transfer, Government Enterprises Employment Project (GEEP) and others which this administration is nurturing to ensure good living condition for average Ekiti indigenes.
Barr. Kolade said Governor Fayemi had taken decisive step to ensure that the benefitting households keep on receiving the money on a regular basis and at the same time ensuring that more people also benefit from this largesse of government. He announced that arrangements have been concluded to ensure that more people benefit from the programme adding that before the end of the year no fewer than 16,000 households would start to benefit from this cash transfer.
The arena was filled with excitement as the beneficiaries of the cash transfer started collecting the money immediately after the flag off. One of the beneficiaries madam Yeside Adebayo, thanked the state government for coming to the aid of her family with the cash transfer.