In a significant humanitarian move, Governor Barr Peter Mbah of Enugu State officially launched the distribution of essential palliatives on Wednesday. The distribution operation swiftly commenced with the delivery of 52,000 bags of rice and 52,000 bags of maize, targeting the urban and rural underprivileged communities within the State.
This comprehensive relief effort includes the allocation of 200 bags of rice and 200 bags of maize to each of the 260 wards across the State, ensuring that assistance reaches the grassroots level.
Governor Mbah emphasized that these palliatives represent a short-term strategy to alleviate poverty in Enugu State. He reiterated his unwavering commitment to pursuing medium and long-term plans, outlined in his administration’s manifesto, aimed at eradicating poverty throughout the State. This initiative underscores the government’s dedication to improving the lives of its citizens and building a more prosperous future for Enugu State.
“Part of our vision is to eradicate poverty in Enugu State. And we knew that at the time we were saying that, there was a high rate of poverty in the State. But, a few days into our administration, we have had to contend with a number of policies initiated by the Federal Government, such as the removal of the petrol subsidy and the unification of the foreign exchange rates.
“What that meant was that the people we have in our poverty bracket suddenly expanded because their purchasing power declined drastically.
“As a government that is pro-people, we have the quick fix or short-term strategy to reduce the pressure on our people while still bearing in mind the long-term goal of eradicating poverty, making sure that we introduce strategic programmes that would, in the long run, get our people constructively engaged, and make a living from such engagements.
“So, what we have simply come to do here today is to present palliatives to the people of Enugu State, particularly our rural poor, urban poor and our downtrodden.
“We have also put a structure in place to make that happen by decentralizing the distribution, involving local council leaderships, the town unions, the religious institutions, among others, such that once we leave here, these items will begin to get distributed across the 17 local governments from today,” he said.
Furthermore, the Governor made an announcement regarding the acquisition of buses to facilitate affordable transportation, allowing residents to engage in their socio-economic endeavours effortlessly. He reminded the audience that his administration had previously established committees tasked with verifying and settling all outstanding pension and gratuity obligations owed to public servants in the State. This proactive measure is intended to ensure that the elderly and the most vulnerable individuals can maintain a meaningful quality of life, even in the face of prevailing economic challenges.
In addition to the Governor’s remarks, Hon. Okechukwu Edeh, Chairman of the Enugu State Chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria and a member of the State’s palliatives committee, affirmed that the distributed items would swiftly reach those in need among the less privileged population.
“As the ALGON Chairman, I promise you that I will work with my colleagues to make sure that these get to the downtrodden. It is not for everybody; it is for the poor, and it must get to them based on the expanded social register that has been compiled”, he said.
In the meantime, various segments of the recipients have expressed their appreciation to the Enugu State Government for its commitment to transparency and inclusivity in handling the palliatives.
Addressing the issue, Onyebuchi Mbah, the Chairman of the Enugu State chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, commented, “I wish to say kudos to the current administration in Enugu State because they deemed it fit to practice inclusiveness, involving the most vulnerable groups, persons with disabilities in this exercise. I want them to continue in that direction.
“Let me also say that in the exercise so far, the State Governor has played his own role, and we hope that the directives he has given will be followed so that these items will get to the most vulnerable population.”
Additionally, Mrs Chika Nwankwo, who serves as the Councillor representing Awgu Ward I in Awgu Local Government Area, characterized the palliatives as “welcome relief for the underprivileged in the rural regions from which I originate.”
“The poor, the sick, and many who cannot afford one square meal in a day are eagerly waiting for us to return with the goodies”, she stated.