The Lagos State Government on Tuesday, 22 September, 2020 commenced distribution of 107,546 food palliative packs which were handed over to the State Government by the Coalition Against COVID (CA-COVID) for distribution to Lagosians, especially the vulnerable and less privileged in the State.
The food items were received on behalf of the State Government by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House, Alausa in company of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde and the Acting Commissioner of Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, among other state officials and representatives of CA-COVID
Governor Sanwo-Olu later distributed part of the items to some of the beneficiaries who were present at the ceremonial handover of the food palliatives.
Speaking on behalf of the State Government, Ms Olusanya said the food items were meant for the indigent residents of the state and the elderly.
According to Olusanya, a single beneficiary will get each pack containing 10 kilograms of rice, five kilograms of garri, five kilograms of sugar, one kilogram of salt, two cartons of noodles (Indomie) and one carton of pasta, for his or her family.
She said: “We are here today for the handing over ceremony of the Coalition Against COVID-19 pandemic distribution for the food items that were donated by this group as far back as April-May but which Lagos officially is just receiving.
“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 tables on a daily basis.”
Speaking on the items received so far, the Commissioner said the food items are being repackaged by the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that each beneficiary gets the right quantity of items.
Olusanya said that in terms of the distribution modality, the state would borrow a leaf from the experience garnered during the lockdown period when it pioneered the distribution of over 50,000 food beneficiary packs.
She said: “We have this food items at a location, where our team from the Ministry of Agriculture is doing the repackaging, to ensure that a single beneficiary pack gets to the right people and also with the right quantity. 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 Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, we have taken the pains to get bags marked, to print on them the Lagos State logo, the CACOVID logo and to put these items in each pack, such that we have transparency across board.
“But nonetheless, with regards 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.”
She stressed further that “CACOVID-19 team is also working alongside our team to ensure that in terms of the audit, in term of the numbers, we are both on the same page. 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.”
Also speaking, the State Coordinator of CA-COVID, Mr. Amaechi Okobi, commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for his leadership role in managing COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos State. He said: “We thank you for your support. We thank you for the tireless efforts you have put in to ensure things are going well as they have been going. 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 about what we have done. The idea here is to take care of our fellow men. One million, six hundred and sixty six thousands, six hundred and sixty-seven Nigerians need our help. All Nigerians need our help but we are 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.”
He stressed further that: “The efforts to get this food and palliatives are gigantic but to distribute the food items is even more because we know all the problems we would face. So, I ask on behalf of the CACOVID that you continue to support to ensure that every last Nigerian that the commissioner mentioned gets these items. It is critical. It impacts our credibility. It impacts the work of serious people that want to actually do something.
“Without you Sir, we cannot do this. So, we are asking you to support us as you always have to continue to help us so to make sure that every Nigerian that should get this, gets it. We thank you for your efforts so far. God will continue to strengthen you. But this is a huge task but we have no doubt that you will succeed. We thank you.”