Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa, on Monday began the distribution of COVID-19 relief items, with a pledge that the foodstuffs will get to the less privileged and vulnerable people in the state.
Diri assured citizens that the items would be judiciously distributed across party lines when he launched the distribution of the items.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was witnessed by legislators from the state and the national assembly, local government chairmen at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
Diri directed the eight council chairmen and their councilors to demonstrate integrity in the distribution of the foodstuff and ensure that it cuts across political party lines.
“As you go to your various local government areas to distribute these relief materials, make sure that there is no distinction between PDP and APC.
“The COVID-19 pandemic does not know who is PDP or APC. The underlying issue is that they are all Bayelsa citizens.
“The relief materials should get to all who need them, particularly the downtrodden, because this government is poised to carry everyone along.
“I urge you to ensure that the distribution of these items is successful and done peacefully. Having experienced the first distribution of garri in the state, this time around we are following it up with enough security.
“So, we have invited more personalities and leaders to be part of the distribution process. The security will follow these items to their various local government headquarters.
“We have also invited other leaders to be involved in the distribution of items to their wards and communities,” Diri said.
NAN recalls that Diri had a fortnight ago approved distribution of relief materials meant for the 2019 flood victims to cushion the adverse impact of the stay-at-home directive imposed to check the spread of the coronavirus.
The exercise which was chaotic was characterized by allegations of diversion of some 200 bags of garri, but officials of the government said the alleged diverted items were carted away by hoodlums who overwhelmed armed securitymen.
The governor disclosed that the state had begun the process of setting up its own laboratory and testing Centre for viral infections apart from the Coronavirus disease.
He said he had approved N60 million for the procurement of equipment for the Centre to be established at the Bayelsa Medical University.
The governor added that officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would be invited to inspect and certify the centre when it is ready.
The governor enumerated food items procured by his administration to include; 6,000 bags of beans, 6,070 bags of garri, 10,750 cartons of noodles and 185 packs of bottled water.
Others are 175 cartons of tin tomato, 700 cartons of soft drinks, 35 gallons of palm oil, 68 bags of salt, 69 bags of sugar, 38 cartons of seasoning and 70 gallons of vegetable oil.
Senator Diri, who equally highlighted items donated by corporate organisations, expressed gratitude for their gesture and enjoined others to follow suit.
According to him, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board donated 75 bags of beans, 300 bags of rice, 70 bags of garri, two ambulances and other pharmaceutical items.
“7Up Bottling Company donated 2,004 packs of bottled water, 8,400 cartons of soft drinks while Mee&Kay Ltd gave 100 cartons of instant noodles.
“The state government took delivery of 350 bags of rice and 300 bags of garri from Ecobank Plc while Crunchies, a fast food outfit in Yenagoa, donated 50 cartons of noodles.
“Other items donated include; 300 bags of rice from the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, Sterling Bank N100 million, Niger Delta Development Commission N100 million.
“Nigerian Agip Oil Company promised that in partnership with the NNPC it will build a South-South health Centre for the fight against COVID-19 and other viral diseases in the state.
“Other donors include Brass Local Government Area with 50 bags of rice, 500 bags each of beans and garri, 900 cartons of noodles, 10 packs each of water and tin tomato, seven bags of salt and sugar,’’ he said.
The chart indicated that Ekeremor Local Government got 60 bags of rice, 600 bags each of beans and garri, 1,080 cartons of noodles, 12 packs each of water and tin tomato, seven bags of salt and sugar each.
Kolokuma/Opokuma received 55 bags of rice, 650 bags each of beans and garri, 1,170 cartons of noodles, 11 packs each of water and tin tomato, seven bags each of salt and sugar.
Nembe got 65 bags of rice, beans and garri 650 bags each, 1,170 cartons of noodles, 13 packs each of water and tin tomato, salt and sugar seven bags each.
Ogbia got 65 bags of rice, beans and garri 650 bags each, 1,170 cartons of noodles, water and tin tomato 13 packs each, salt and sugar eight bags each.
Sagbama is to distribute 70 bags of rice, 700 bags each of beans and garri, 1,260 cartons of noodles, water and tin tomato 14 packs each, salt and sugar eight bags each.
Southern Ijaw received 85 bags of rice, beans and garri 850 bags each, 1,530 cartons of noodles, water and tin tomato 17 packs each, 12 bags each of salt and sugar.
Yenagoa received 75 bags of rice, beans 750 bags, garri 750, noodles 1,350 cartons, water and tin tomato 15 packs each, nine bags each of salt and sugar.
Other beneficiaries include the physically challenged persons, internally displaced persons, youth corps members, Bakassi returnees, motherless babies home and non-indigenes
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