Kunle Adelabu & Wale Jagun
-Gesture, distribution process receive commendations
The Lagos State government, on Friday, April 3, 2020, distributed food items to various groups and council areas in Ikorodu division to cushion the effects of the current lockdown on the vulnerable people across the State.
It was indeed a well-coordinated distribution exercise compare to what obtained in other parts of the State where the distribution exercise was said to be chaotic.
The distribution exercise, which took place at the Ikorodu Local Government Secretariat, was coordinated by the Ikorodu Division Youth Movement (IDYM), iCare Foundation and other groups.
The relief items which included rice, beans and bread were distributed to the six Local Government and Local Councils Development Area, Community Development Associations (CDAs)/Community Development Committee (CDCs), Ikorodu Division Youth Initiative Movement (IDYIM), National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and selected social media platforms in the Division.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had few days back, after issuing the two-week lockdown directive to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, announced the social intervention to cushion the effects of the stay at home order on the residents of the State.in order to curtail the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
According to the Governor, the economic stimulus packages were meant for indigent and the most vulnerable people in the society.
Speaking after an on-the-spot assessment of one of the State-owned food banks located inside the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in Agege, Sanwo-Olu said the economic stimulus would reduce the burden of the temporary economic downturn on the citizens caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.
He said the food packs, which were put together by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, would reach the most vulnerable communities and households across Lagos, saying that the indigents who rely on daily wages will be given priority.
Our reporters, who monitored the distribution exercise, gathered that 4,200 bags of food items were brought to Ikorodu to be shared among the six councils and other groups.
Also distributed were thousands of loaves of bread.
The orderly allocation of the relief packages amongst different groups across Ikorodu division were coordinated by the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Ikorodu Division Youth Initiative Movement, Dr Abiodun Fatai Abatan, a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos and ably assisted by the Executive Secretary of the IDYIM, Comrade Samson Bisiriyu, Administrator of the Frank Forum, one of the leading WhatsApp platform in the division, Mr Tayo Odesanya and Publisher/Administrator of a leading news medium and social media platform, Kunle Adelabu.
The iCare Foundation Director General, Mayor Deen Sanwoola, Principal of the Lagos State University International School, Alhaji Taiwo Odumbo and others provided the technical assistance in distributing the packages to the groups.
The Coordinator of the distribution exercise, Dr Abatan, was seen given updates via phone call to the Special Adviser on Agriculture, Ms Bisola Ruth Olusanya, on the distribution exercise and also assured her that all were going according to plan.
The three trailers that brought the food items to the venue of the distribution arrived around 1.00pm while the exercise lasted till around 8.00pm in the evening with all the groups listed taken care of.
Dr Abatan, speaking with THE IMPACT, stated that the targets of the State government’s gesture were the vulnerable residents.
“The target population were the vulnerable people, especially the needy, indigents, less privileged and physically challenged affected by food supply and access, as a result of the government lockdown necessitated by the outbreak of COVID-19.
“The food items were distributed across the division using the structure of the CDC and CDAs, youths organizations, social media platforms and LCDAs chairmen lists of vulnerable groups”.
Explaining how the supply to Ikorodu Division were distributed, the political science lecturer stated:
“To ensure that the food items get to the deserving and highlighted people, the following breakdown were applied across the three layers of the distribution chain stated above.
“At the second layers, a total of 225 food bags and loaves of bread were allocated to the youth organizations and active social media outlets in Ikorodu division”, Dr Abatan stated.
“1,000 bags of the food supply were allocated to the local government chairmen in all the six LCDAs in the division to captured the needy and vulnerable people identified by them.
“For the CDC and CDAs structure, a total of 560 registered CDAs benefitted from the food support at the ratio of 5 packs per CDA across the LCDAs in the division. Furthermore, another 130 packs and loaves of bread were also allocated to the CDC in each of the six LCDAs in the division to be distributed to the identified vulnerable people in their various areas.
Stating his view on the government’s food support for the residents, he stated:
“My perception is that social aid has a very significant impact in providing temporary relief and support to the people in times of emergency and disaster such as the one posed to the world by the COVID-19 pandemic”, Dr Abaan stated.
“And l think that the Lagos state government, under the astute Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, ably assisted by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal and our Special Adviser on Agriculture, Ms Bisola Olusanya, should be applauded for this laudable initiatives, especially at this period that the world is undergoing the challenge of social support due to the lockdown imposed by consequence of coronavirus”, he stated.
On the pattern adopted which made the distribution exercise effective and free of rancor compared to what happened in other parts of the state, Dr Abatan stated:
“Honestly, the entire distribution process was very peaceful and well organized. The beneficiaries have been highlighted and a distribution chain was structured to meet desired targets through our CDAs, CDC and youth organizations.
“It was, therefore, easy as beneficiaries all got their share without any rancor, skirmishes or complaints. The lkorodu experience was a clear departure from what obtained in other local governments where there were crises which made the food support to be unable to get to the final destination. All in all, it was a peaceful distribution process in lkorodu”, he said.
The Coordinator of the distribution also thanked those that provided technical and other supports for the successful distribution of the food items supplied to Ikorodu Division.
“While thanking the Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his team for this laudable social support, we strongly appreciate Hon Jimi Benson and Deen Sanwoola who provided the template and technical structure used for the peaceful and successful distribution of the food support.
“Special mention to the volunteer groups, iCare team, Impact, Frank forum and Ikorodu Division Youth Movement Initiative”, he stated thankfully.
The Chairman of Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area, Hon. Adeola Banjo, also speaking with THE IMPACT, described the government’s gesture as awesome.
“It’s awesome. It’s a right decision at the right time.
“On behalf of good people of Ikorodu North LCDA, I say a big thank you to our Governor”.
Speaking on the process of distribution, Hon. Banjo stated that it was transparent.
“The process was transparent. Good work to Mr Deen Sanwoola and others. I am always proud of you guys”, Ikorodu North LCDA Chairman stated thankfully.
Speaking on behalf of other Chairmen of the Community Development Committees (CDC), Imota CDC Chairman, Mr … (Ashaka) stated that the food support gesture was the best decision taken by the State government so far.
“Well, I want to believe this is the best decision so far at this critical period it enabled people at the grassroots to get direct benefit through the CDAs. This will go a long way in putting smiles in their faces”, he said.
Speaking on the process of distribution, Imota CDC Chairman stated that:
“I sincerely appreciate the channel through which the distribution exercise passed through, the institutions made it easy to reach out to the right people without any discrimination”.
While thanking the Governor for the gesture, he stated that the second phase of the distribution would take care of those that did not benefit from the first phase.
“We are thanking the Governor. To whom much is given, much is expected. On behalf of the good people of Imota, we greatly appreciate Mr Babajide Sawo-Olu for this gesture at this period of need, but I think if a second phase should as well be done to enable those who have not yet been captured to benefit from the food supply because our people need it”, he pleaded.
Mr Rasheed Fatuga, the founder and leader of the Ikorodu Ambassadors’ Group, in his own reaction, described the government’s food intervention as laudable and a welcome development.
The young community mobiliser enjoined government to consider a second phase of the food supply to enable it go round the majority of the residents.
“The Social Aid Intervention by the government is a laudable one and a welcome development”, he said.
“Even though it can’t reach everyone at once, the government can still roll out another batch/phase later before the lockdown runs out to capture more residents.
He also commended the process of distribution, stating that:
“The process of distribution was okay because of the method used in distributing the food items which included the CDAs, groups, Council areas and others. These channels will surely be able to identify those that are really in need of the relief packages.
“The only thing that they need to improve on is the happenings during distribution. We need to be mindful of the precautionary measures like social distancing, sanitizing and other measures as stipulated by the government”, Comrade Fatuga warned.