The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has inaugurated a committee for the distribution of palliatives to cushion the effects of Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic on the people of the Niger Delta region.
Speaking during the inauguration of the committee at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, said that setting up of the committee was another response of the commission to COVID-19 and the effects of the lockdown to assist the Niger Delta people.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer was joined by the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang and the Acting Executive Director Projects, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, during the ceremony.
Pondei charged the committee, which has Mr. Soboma Jackrich as its Chairman, and Rt. Hon. Victor Antai as the secretary, with all the state directors of the Commission, to assuage the pains of the lockdown on Niger Delta people.
He said: “We decided to come up with this palliative measure to reach out to Niger Deltans, especially the vulnerable ones in the region. We recognize the fact that the lockdown will make it difficult for people in the rural areas.
“We need a good strategy to be able to reach the poor and vulnerable. For effectiveness, the committee will need to work with traditional rulers and religious leaders.”
In his response, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Soboma Jackrich, assured that they would ensure that the palliatives got to the people at the grassroots. “This is what we have been doing, we have the passion and the compassion to carry out this task.” he said.
The NDDC Interim Management and members of the committee later inspected the items for distribution at the two warehouses of the Commission. They included food items such as bags of garri, rice and beans. Others are palm oil, indomie noodles and biscuits. The palliatives also included sanitizers, wheel chairs, crutches, inhalers among others.
The NDDC had earlier released over N1billion to assist governors of the nine states of the region in the fight against the pandemic, including N775 million for palliative to youths, women and the physically challenged, as well as another N270 million to fast-track the establishment of isolation centres in the 27 senatorial districts of the region.