As part of measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Private sector-led Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID) has handed over to Lagos State Government (LASG) food supply relief packages worth N1.4 billion for distribution to the indigent and elderly citizens of the state.
At the official handover ceremony at the governor’s office, Alausa Secretariat Ikeja, the Coalition said the food palliatives would cover 107,564 households in the state.
The CACOVID had announced its plan to feed over 1.7million households cutting across the 774 local governments in the country to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic and had gone ahead to deliver the foodstuffs to some of the states for onward distribution to their citizens.
Speaking during the handover in Lagos, CACOVID Lagos Representative, Amaechi Okobi, who is the Head of Corporate Communication of Access Bank Plc disclosed that the Coalition had already provided support to the states and federal government in the public health front.
According to him, CACOVID has provided testing support by providing testing kits, laboratories, medical supplies, isolation centres, training of the frontline medical personnel and grassroots awareness campaign.
“Having done all these we thought it right to provide relief packages to our countrymen, the poor and those most vulnerable in our communities”, he stated.
Amaechi told the state government to make the distribution seamlessly successful by constituting an Implementation Committee chaired by the governor; draw up a list of the beneficiaries that is consistent with CACOVID objectives and organize each local government to collect allocations for the people.
Speaking on behalf of the State Government, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, Acting Commissioner for Agriculture said the food items were meant for the indigent residents of the state and the elderly and that 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 CACOVID 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 daily.”
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 these 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 the board.
“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 received as Lagos State.”
She stated further that “CACOVID 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.”
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 the 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 palliative.