Some indigenes of Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State have donated cash and foodstuff aimed at ameliorating the hardship caused by the sit-at-home directive issued by the state government.
To ensure equitable distribution of the palliative materials for the people, a committee made up of prominent indigenes, including Professor Jaja Nwanegbo, Felix Ikechi, Mrs. Regina Uchebo, Magistrate Ikechukwu Ogolo and others, has been formed. The committee will be chaired by the national president, Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), Professor Alex Asigbo, who hails from the area.
At their inauguration, Asigbo said: “Members of the central coordinating committee saw this as a call to service and determined to give our best. In doing that, we resolved to be as apolitical as possible. We do not want to be bothered with issues of umbilical cord. Suggestions should be about how to raise money and materials for distribution to our people. We are soliciting donations of food items, rice, yam, noodles and so on, as well as money from well-meaning Anambra West sons and daughters.”
Before the committee was set up, two businessmen, Chief Simeon Nnakwe and Mr. Osita Michael Offozor, had donated N10 million and more than 400 bags of rice, respectively.
Chief Nnakwe, chairman of Nasifts General Trading Nigeria Limited, who first gave out between N10,000 and N20,000 to over 600 families said: “Majority of our people in the village live below the poverty line and the government’s stimulus package may not reach them. So, we are giving out this little cash, not because we have excess, but we believe it will somehow help to cushion the effects and suffering of our people.
“People did not prepare for this kind of shutdown. To worsen the situation, the price of foodstuff has skyrocketed in the market. This is a very difficult time for Nigerian people because we are not used to closing down our businesses, farms, factories and staying indoors. It’s equally more difficult for Anambra West people because of lack of basic amenities such as electricity, potable water and even the kind of special food supplies that we used to see in other parts of the world. The federal and state governments should do more in provision of succour to the poor masses, especially those in rural communities.
Offorzor, on his part, said: “I did it silently because I am not a Nigerian politician. I have no intention of publicizing it. The plight of our people gives me serious concern. I know what it means for one to be indoors for days. They are predominantly farmers and everyone knows the fate of farmers in Nigeria. This is their farming season; nobody cares to know how they are faring. But with the little I have given them now, they can be managing with it until the sit-at-home is over. We know it is for our own good. Again, I didn’t do it because I have in excess, but what is the essence of being a wealthy man, if not to positively affect lives?”
Mr. Ojukwu Obakasi, a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano, also donated protective materials to the indigenes.
Said he: “There comes a time in life when it’s imperative to join in a noble cause. The COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant effect is with us now. Hunger as a result of food scarcity and hike in price of basic commodities are hitting our people in the villages. This is the time to give back to our communities.”
Many people, including the past Majority Leader, Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr. Victor Okoye, have already made cash and food donations. The traditional ruler of Ivite Anam, Igwe Sylvester Nnose, commended the donors for their gesture. He implored others to donate whatever they could, noting that it would help in assisting the people.
“We hardly see businessmen come up with this kind of initiative, only political office holders, especially senators and House of Representatives members. It is more interesting coming from people who have no interest in politics. I urge my people to key into the project,” the royal father noted.