Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, literally opened the food and financial vaults of the state today to support those hit hardest by the lockdown in the state occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic affecting the world.
In a brief ceremony held at the Government House, Umuahia, Governor Ikpeazu who was represented by his Deputy, Rt Hon Ude Oko Chukwu, handed food, funds and protective materials over to churches for onward delivery to the needy and the vulnerable who are suffering the brunt of the lockdown as a reult of his administration*s resolve to keep the virus out of the state as well as possible control its spread in the event of any recorded infection.
The Churches that received relief materials include the Catholic Church, Methodist Church Nigeria, Assemblies of God Church, The Apostolic Church and the Muslim community.
The palliative items they received include;The Catholic Church, 300 bags of rice, 10 bags of beans,Tubers of yams,300 hand sanitizers ,5,000 face masks and N6m to buy more food items.
2. Methodist Church: 300 bags of rice, 10 bags of beans, Tubers of yams, 300 hand sanitizers, 5,000 face masks and N6m to buy more food items.
Others include, 3. Assemblies of God Church: 250 bags of rice, 8 bags of beans,Tubers of yam,200 hand sanitizers, 3,000, face masks, N5m to buy more food items. 4. The Apostolic Church, 250 bags of rice, 8 bags of beans,Tubers of yam, 200 hand sanitizers , 3,000 face masks, N5m to buy more food items 5. Muslim Community, 100 bags of rice, 2 bags of beans, Tubers of yam, 50 hand sanitizers, 500 face masks, N1m to buy more food
Speaking during the hand over event, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu expressed confidence that delivering the materials through faith based institutions would eliminate political bias as well as ensure that most of the materials get to those who really need them.
He assured that the process would continue with other churches expected to receive in the coming days, adding that for those who may not belong to any church or mosque, the government would reach them using the state’s geriatric services agency, traditional rulers and president generals of community associations.
According to him, “We will not pretend that what we are giving is enough to go round everyone who may need it at this time but we aim to reach a minimum of 80% of vulnerable persons via a process that will continue tomorrow even as we hope that well to do Abians will continue to support our efforts by taking care of those around them at this trying time”.
Also speaking, Chairman of Abia State Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, Apostle Emmanuel Agomuo, the Catholic Bishop of Aba Diocese, Bishop Augustine Echema, Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia, Most Rev Chibuzor Okpoko, District Superintendent of Assemblies of God Church, Rev Dr Ogba Onyeije and the leader of the Muslim Community in the state, Sheik Ukiwe, applauded the Government for distributing the palliative materials and pledged to ensure that those who need them receive them as soon as possible.
They called on citizens and residents of the state to ensure they obey the lockdown order to help in preventing the dreaded coronavirus disease from getting to the state.
In a brief chat with journalists shortly after the presentation ceremony, the State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, expressed the government’s appreciation to private and corporate citizens of the state who contributed to the state’s COVID-19 funds and assured that the government was ready to do whatever necessary to protect the people of the state from the virus.
He revealed that members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 would meet later to review the ongoing lockdown with a view to assessing its level of success against the set goals of the government and chart a way forward.