COVID-19: Ebonyi residents urge govt. not to politicize distribution of palliatives-By Reginald Okoro

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Gov Dave Umahi

 A cross section of Abakaliki residents has urged Ebonyi government to ensure that partisanship and political patronage did not play out in the distribution of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown palliative items to the people.

The residents gave the advice in separate interviews with SUMMITNEWS on Monday in Abakaliki.
They, therefore, called on the state governor, Chief Dave Umahi,  to ensure that only people of credible integrity, character and candor were appointed to oversee to the distribution of the relief items to the beneficiaries.

Mr. Boniface Nwachukwu, a retired civil servent said that care must be taken to ensure that the process was not hijacked by politicians in the state while efforts should be made to ensure transparency in the palliative distribution.

“We have looked forward to getting the relief items to serve as relief to the hardship occasioned by the almost two months of economic and social lockdown due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

“Government has announced recently that it will distribute the palliative items from both state and federal governments to the people and to me, it is cheering news.

“My fear is that the process might be hijacked as they have always done in such situations.

“Government should ensure transparency, fairness and do everything to prevent politicians from taking advantage of the process to favour their cronies and supporters.

“Everybody deserving to benefit from the government palliative should receive irrespective of political affiliation or party leaning,” Nwachukwu said.

Mr. John Nwebonyi, a physically challenged urged government to give preference to those living with disabilities during the sharing.
He argued that unemployed people living with disabilities were the worst affected by the lockdown, and appealed to government to give special considerations to them.

I heard that committees have been inaugurated preparatory to commencement of the distribution but it’s very unfortunate that those living with disabilities were not included in the committees.

“The process should not be politicised, or hijacked by strong and powerful politicians in the various communities,” he said.
Mr. Ben Onwe, a teacher appealed to members of the distribution committees to be guided by good conscience and eschew temptations that would make them compromise.

“Our problem in Nigeria is our politicians who will stop at nothing to satisfy their selfish interests at any slightest opportunity and this exercise may not be an exception.

“Ebonyi people have eagerly waited for this opportunity; I appeal that our politicians should allow the process so as to ensure that ordinary people benefit from the government palliatives, ” Onwe said.

Mr. Francis Nwifuru, Speaker, Ebonyi state House of Assembly and Ebonyi COVID-19 Sub-Committee chairman on Welfare and Fund Raising, announced recently that plans had been concluded to kickoff distribution of palliative items to cushion effects of the lockdown.

According to him, the governor has made provisions of food items and condiments that will be distributed to everyone in the state irrespective of social and economic status.

He said that at least 200 persons per polling unit across the 1,785 polling units in the state would benefit from the relief materials comprising foodstuffs and condiments.

Nwifuru was quoted saying: “The palliative will get to everyone both the rich and the poor in the state.

“We have set up committees comprising representatives of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), for the smooth distribution of federal and state governments palliatives.”

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