By Abimbola Ogunnaike
Nigerians are currently going through hard times, no thanks to the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)Naira redesign policy which has created scarcity of notes across the country. Many cannot afford to buy foodstuff or transport themselves to markets or workplaces due to this development.
Worried by this sad development, no fewer than six governors have rolled out palliative measures to cushion the effect of the cash crunch being experienced by their citizens and residents.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the establishment of food banks in various parts of the state for the distribution of food items to vulnerable families hit by the lingering naira and fuel crises. The Governor also directed a 50 per cent fare reduction in all state-owned transportation services.
“A trader at Egbeda area of the state, Ramota Ali thanked Governor Sanwo-Olu for the noble the initiative, adding that some people may termed this gesture as politics.
“I know people will term the gesture as politics. It is better than nothing and the fact remains that the gesture will ease the sufferings Lagosians are going currently experiencing as a result of the bad policy of the CBN,” Ali told thegazellenews.com in an interview
“I and my husband are civil servants; we have money in the bank but we are unable to withdraw and buy food for the family. I see the intervention by the state government as timely.
“The problem is that most of our traders live by the day; they need cash when you want to pay for a plastic of rice or garri, which is not more than N1,000,” she said.
In neighbouring OgunState, Governor Dapo Abiodun, last week rolled out plans to distribute 400,000 food items to vulnerable residents as palliative measures to cushion the effects of the policy somersault of the Apex Bank.
Governor Abiodun apologized for the trauma the people of the state are going through as a result the naira swap policy and called on tsecurity agencies to handle the situation with professionalism and deeper maturity.
“We will be distributing the first phase of 400,000 food items through our social investment officers in each local government area to the communities, starting from this weekend.
“We hope this social intervention provides some succour to our people. Again, we apologise for the inadvertent hardship and inconveniences this policy has caused all of us,” he said.
Some of the food items being distributed include rice, noodles and gari, among others.
Some residents thanked the governor for the initiative. Nurani bello, an inter -state bus driver residing in Abeokuta, the state capita, said the Naira scarcity has brought an untold hardship to majority of Nigerians. In fact, it had turned most of us to beggars.
“Governor Abiodun has done very well by distributing these food items. At least, the people will be happy for receiving the food items,” Bello told the gazellenews.com in an interview.
Bello added that some of them had parked their buses because of the confusion associated with the cashless policy.
In Kwara, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq introduced palliatives, which will include cash transfer to widows, pensioners, transporters, marketers, smallholder farmers and other vulnerable people.
Governor AbdulRazaq said it would be done through the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) for proper coordination and accountability.
Last Monday, the state government commenced its free transport services for students and staff of some tertiary institutions in the state.
The special assistant to the governor on students affairs, Bello Mubarak, who supervised the exercise across the designated motor parks in Ilorin, said the free bus ride was considered necessary by the government to ease the suffering of students of the affected campuses amid the difficulty imposed by scarcity of fuel.
According to Mubarak, the governor, after receiving complaints of the student unions’ leaders, deemed it fit to come to their aid by conveying them to campuses free of charge.
Rukayat Moboluwaduro, student of the University of Ilorin, said students in the state welcome this gesture of the governor.
Moboluwaduro, whose came to Lagos on a short visit to his friend’s parent who reside in Ipaja area of Lagos State, told thegazellenews.com that students in the state are very happy for the steps taken by the governor to alleviate and cushion the effect of the naira notes scarcity.
In Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki directed that all Edo City Transport Service (ECTS) buses are to provide free services to passengers
Obaseki said these gestures will at least reducing the effect of the cash crunch the people are going through due to the crash crunch being experienced by the people of the state.
The Governor, in a statement by his special adviser on media projects, Crusoe Osagie, and made available, said the directive was applicable to all routes and effective till February 20.
Obaseki called on the people to remain calm and law-abiding, assuring them normalcy would be restored very soon.
Samuel Edogie, a Lagos based trader, whose family resides in Benin, the state capital, Edogie said he was happy with the initiative introduced by governor Obaseki.
“It is difficult going to work in Benin. My wife who is a civil servant in the state said she was very happy when she heard the news. I thank the Edo State Government for the free transportation. It will ease the problems of the people of the state.
The Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Zulum, ordered the release of over N300 million worth of drugs and other medical supplies to government hospitals for free distribution to patients, most of who were facing difficulties in making payments due to scarcity of new and old naira notes.
The state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Professor Mohammed Arab Alhaji, disclosed this while unveiling the drugs at his ministry’s stores located along Baga road in Maiduguri.
Alhaji said that that the drugs must be given free to patients that have no money at hand or those that have problems in accessing their funds to pay for their service.
“We know some people may have money and still demand free drugs by pretending that they lack funds. They should fear Allah. It is sad that some dishonest people refuse to help those in need,” the commissioner said, quoting Governor Zulum and urging health workers to be vigilant.
“Out of 10 passengers you rarely see two with cash to pay you when you take them to their destinations. And come to think of it; how can someone transfer N100 or N200 to your bank account? It doesn’t make sense. That is why I parked my car and turned to a beggar of sorts. I thank the governor for the palliative; may God bless him,” he said.
Kano State government has ordered its vehicles under the Kanawa Bus Service to commence free ride within the state metropolis to cushion the effects of scarcity of New naira notes across the country
The directives followed the approval of the state Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who said the vehicles should go round the state to alleviate sufferings of the people in the state.
The Governor said the gesture was taken to cushion the effects of the hardship, the government directed that the long buses, go round the metropolitan areas to transport residents to their respective businesses places, offices and schools.