ABEOKUTA — Inmates of Hansen’s Lepers Colony at Iberekodo in Abeokuta, have appealed to Ogun State Government to increase their monthly allowance of N3,000 and ensure its prompt payment.
The community leader, Ezekiel Ayinla made the appeal, when members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the state council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists visited the colony yesterday.
The visit was part of the week-long activities marking the 2012 Correspondents’ Week.
The leader, who spoke through one of the lepers, John Ojoawo, lamented their fate at the hands of the last administration in the state and urged Governor Ibikunle Amosun to intervene.
Ayinla noted that whereas lepers under local government councils were been paid N5,000 those under the state government received only N3, 000 monthly.
He said: “They divided us into two; some under the local government and some under the state government.
“The amazing thing is that those under the local government collect N5,000 but we who are under the state collect N3,000 and it is not even regular.
“As we all know, things are expensive in the market now, so they should please add more to our money and pay us promptly.’’
Ayinla, however, appreciated the efforts of the current administration but demanded for more attention, noting that their agitation for increment in allowances, which began in June 2011, should be attended to.
Mr Kehinde Akinyemi, Chairman of the chapel urged the government to assist the community, “to give them a sense of belonging.
“The idea of separation was the motive behind settling them in the outskirts of town, but now development has caught up with them.
“In the light of this, government should provide all the needed attention to them in terms of welfare, to make them part of the people,” Akinyemi said.
Meantime, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday, said his administration has spent N4 billion to purchase four Armoured Personnel Carriers, APCs, 145 vans and other security gadgets to fight crime.
Amosun made this known in Abeokuta on yesterday when he received the management team of Ecobank Plc.
It will be recalled that robbery attacks had been on the increase in some parts of Ogun since December 2011, forcing banks and other financial institutions to close shop.
According to the governor, the purchase of APCs, vans and other gadgets was to compliment the Federal Government’s efforts in combating crime.
He said socio-economic development could only take place in an environment that was peaceful and where security was guaranteed.
Amosun also commended the bank for donating N75 million to the state’s security trust fund, saying all the money received would be judiciously used.
He called for more support from banks and companies operating in Ogun toward ensuring a crime-free state.
“You can also explore our good and friendly environment to invest in agriculture, housing and industries among others to enhance our socio-economic development as a state, ” he said.
Speaking, the Chairman of the bank, Olorogun Sunny Kuku, said the bank would continue to support efforts at combating crime.