To mitigate the attendant effect of the lockdown, the InnerCity Mission for Children – a non-governmental organisation (NGO), under the auspices of Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International, has donated truckloads of food items and other materials to the Lagos State Government.
The items is for the onward transmission to the needy in Lagos, who have been struck by hunger as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic crisis.
Presenting some of the packs, yesterday, at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege area of the state, the director of the foundation, Pastor (Mrs) Omo Alabi, said that Rev. Chris Oyakhilome believes that the challenge of the poor is not just about their needs; but the givers equally meeting their own needs. She said that the Reverend always stresses that the NGO has a divine responsibility to God, to the church and the society, especially to reach children in inner cities.
The emergency relief packages contain different food supplies and hygiene kits required to curb the spread of the Covid19 virus.
Receiving the gifts, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, thanked the the benefactor for the kind gesture. He promised that the foodstuff would be judiciously distributed to the people who really need them.
He reiterated the state government’s readiness to continue to collaborate with anyone so as to put smiles on the faces of people at this turbulent time. He added that the state would not relent in exploring all avenues to mitigate the negative effects of the lockdown.
Alabi stated that the mission remains at the forefront of providing relief materials to vulnerable children, underserved and hard-to-reach communities in times of crisis.
“The rapid spread of Covid19 is a global crisis that cannot be ignored. Businesses have shut down. Livelihoods have been affected. Many have lost their jobs. However, for the poor and vulnerable who already face food insecurity and struggle to survive daily, this is a crisis within a crisis.
“In Nigeria, Lagos State has recorded the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases. Although with good intentions, the compulsory lockdown mandated by the government has the potential to disproportionately hurt the vulnerable and disadvantaged in the society, who already lack access to stable livelihood, food security, and other basic needs. Most of these people survive through their daily means of sustenance which has now been taken away by the lockdown.
“While the measures put in place by the government to curb the spread of the virus are commendable, we must remember that for the needy, even as they run from the invisible enemy outside, they have to face another enemy at home – hunger.
“We recognize the efforts of the Lagos State government in providing for those most disadvantaged by the situation. However, with an estimated population of over 20 million people, we know that the government needs all the support they can get.
“Already, there have been reports of a spate of robberies in different parts of the state with citizens having to defend themselves against those who say hunger has pushed them into crime. While we do not excuse the violence, we understand that hunger may provide an incentive for the needy to take out their grievances on the society.
“This is why we are partnering with the Lagos State government to distribute much needed food items in contributing to the government’s response plan. Our Emergency Food Response targets vulnerable children, households and communities to help them cushion the effects of the government’s stay-at-home directive. So far, over 300,000 meals have been distributed.
“Already, this has begun in different countries as an offshoot of our Global Food Drive Initiative which kicked off in the month of March. Through this Initiative, working with our network of partners, we are on course to raise and distribute 50 million meals to needy children and families, orphanages and food banks that serve the needy.
“For more than a decade, the InnerCity Mission has actively carried out various programmes and initiatives that have impacted the lives of millions of needy children and families. From reaching the indigent in one country, our reach and impact has spread to over 50 countries benefitting over 20 million people, mostly children,” she said.
The director stressed that the founder of the InnerCity Mission, Oyakhilome was committed to working with the government to ensure that efforts to combat the virus were not made in vain by those who may be driven to the streets as a result of hunger.
“As we reach out to these needy with food supplies, it is our prayer that soon we will be able to put this behind us and our cities will return to normal,” she prayed.