Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State Government on Monday said it has established a food bank to cushion the effects of the lockdown, which started last Wednesday, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) into the state.
Commissioner for Information Charles Aniagwu disclosed this in Asaba while briefing reporters after an enlarged meeting of the Central Committee on Managing and Containing the Coronavirus Pandemic in Delta presided over by the chairman and Governor of the State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa.
Aside from the food bank, Aniagwu said all political appointees in the state would forfeit their one month subvention to their offices as their contribution to funds set aside to provide palliatives to the people of the state.
According to him, committees are also to being set up at the state, local government, ward and unit levels to ensure that the food items get to all, especially the most vulnerable.
“About six days ago, the effective lockdown was initiated in our state to check the spread of COVID-19 and at an enlarged meeting of the committee presided by the Chairman, who is our Governor, Deltans were praised for the level of compliance and understanding that the lockdown was the best option to check the spread of the virus,” Aniagwu said.
“Deltans were urged to continue with the cooperation as there is no single case of the disease in the state, and we thank God and pray that there is no incident.
“The situation calls for a lot of sacrifice and Deltans were commended for their sacrifice and the patience and, as a way to cushion the effects of the lockdown, a food bank has been set up and committees will be set up at the local government, ward and unit levels to ensure that the food gets to everybody.
“All political appointees in the state will also sacrifice one month subvention as part of their contributions to ameliorating the effects of the virus.”
In his contribution, Commissioner for Special Duties Mofe Pirah told journalists that the state government was not going to give cash to the people, saying “what every home needs now is food and we have been receiving food items and different donations from individuals and corporate organisations at our food bank in Ibusa.
“Food will get to the needy, people who cannot make purchases, but we should be patient and know that the lockdown will soon come to an end.”
The chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Mr Itiako Ikpokpo, on his part, said that the only solution to the pandemic virus was to check its spread.
“We still have some pockets of people who wander out of their homes during this lockdown; although our governor has never advocated for the use of force, we appeal to all Deltans to obey instructions.
“We are expanding the market hours to between 8 am and 2 pm, same is applicable to petrol stations because our governor is concerned about the welfare of Deltans and he is working to ensure that, in spite of the fact that the situation was not caused by anybody, the effects will not be so much.
“People at the border towns of Alifekede, Mbiri, Ologbo and Idumuje-Ugboko should be vigilant so that visitors will not come through there and put all of us at risk.
“Deltans should be vigilant and report any person who enters the country recently and any case of extortion should be reported immediately because the government is very proactive and citizens have a lot of roles to play for us to be safe,” he said.