Abia Government on Tuesday began the distribution of palliatives to cushion the effect of the lockdown occassioned by COVID-19 pandemic on the citizenry, especially the indigent and vulnerable persons.
The items, which included rice, beans, yam, sanitisers, face masks and cash, were handed over to representatives of some orthodox churches and the Muslim community in the state.
Deputy Gov. Ude Oko-Chukwu handed over the items to the clerics at the Government House, Umuahia.
Oko-Chukwu said that government was conscious of the harsh impact of the lockdown on the people, especially the underprivileged, hence its resolve to provide the palliatives.
He said: “This is what government has decided should be done for the people as palliatives.
“This is one week of the lockdown and we know that it has not been easy for the people.
“It is going to be a continuous exercise until we are out of the problem.”
The deputy governor thanked the churches and mosques in the state for complying with government’s directive not to hold service with more than 50 persons in attendance during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, Oko-Chukwu has given a hint of a possible extention of the lockdown for another week.
He said that government still depended on the continued support of the various religious organisations to ensure the success of the exercise.
He expressed delight that Abia had not recorded any case of and hoped that it would maitain its COBID-19-free status, if everybody joined hands to do the needful in fighting the pandemic.
“Once we are able to block our borders with our neighbouring states, we will be sure the virus will not be imported into Abia,” he added.
He appealed to the churches and mosques to use their inhouse groups to dsitribute the items to ensure that beneficiaries did not cluster in the process.
The state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Emmanuel Agomuo, a Senior Apostle of the Order of Cherubim and Seraphim, thanked the government for the “wonderful gesture.”
He advised church leaders and Imams to ensure that the palliatives got to the target groups.
“I want us to know that the food items and money are not for the church elders but for the poor, especially those who find it difficult to eat during the lockdown.”
Other clerics at the event, including Archbishop Chibuzo Opoko of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, Umuahia Diocese, and Bishop Augustine Echema of the Aba Catholic Diocese, also commended Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu for the palliatives.
In separate speeches, they commended the governor for his quick response to the expectations of the masses at such a critical period.
Nigeria News Agency reports that Catholic and Methodist Churches got 300 bags of rice, 10 bags of beans, 300 tubers of yam, 300 hand sanitisers, 5000 face masks and N6 million cash each.
The Apostolic and Assemblies got 250 bags of rice, eight bags of beans, 250 tubers of yam, 200 bottles of hand sanitisers, 3000 face masks and N5 million each.
The Muslim community received 100 bags of rice, five bags of beans, 100 tubers of yam, 50 bottles of hand sanitisers, 100 masks and N1 million.
The deputy governor said that the cash donation should be used to purchase more food items and other essentials to cover more indigent persons in the state.
Edited By: Ejike Obeta
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