Akwa Ibom people from across the 31 local government areas have taken delivery of trucks of food items sent by Governor Udom Emmanuel to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
The beneficiaries of the Governor’s benevolence are the vulnerable ones at the grassroots.
The Governor had last weekend assured that his government was going to provide food items to the vulnerable across the villages across the state.
It could be recalled that Governor Udom Emmanuel’s food sufficiency policy which found expression in 2015, came with a bold statement that in a few years, 80 per cent of food consumed by the Akwa Ibom households would emanate from the state.
“As a government, we owe our people a duty to ensure that all the food needs are cultivated and processed within the state, any good government should be able to ensure the availability of the basic food items consumed by its people”, Governor Emmanuel had said.
Last weekend, The Secretary to the State Government Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem who announced the local government committees for the disbursement of the food items had told the journalists in his office that all the incentives provided to the people would have been practically impossible in the face of the current lockdown across the country if the Governor had not provided the industries like the flour, rice and garri processing factories.
Dr Ekuwem also maintained that the state had not received any item from the federal government, as all the food items were provided by the State Government.
The committee on the disbursement of the food items, which the state government assured was carefully selected to ensure accountability, and checks had the local government chairmen, the House of Assembly members, the Paramount Rulers, the youth and women leaders, some members of the State Executive Council, representatives of other political parties, the representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria, among others.
With the truckloads of food items arriving their localities, some of the beneficiaries, from Ini to Obot Akara, Ikot Abasi to Oron and from Eket to Ukanafun local government areas, were elated with Governor Udom Emmanuel, some going as far as describing him as a ‘miracle worker’.
Reacting, the Commissioner for Science and Technology and chairman of the committee, Ibiono Ibom Local Government disbursement committee, Dr Iniobong Essien appreciated the Governor on behalf of Ibiono local government for his benevolence and responsiveness towards the people of the state in the face of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Also speaking the Commissioner for Lands, Town Planning and Water Resources and chairman of the committee in Nsit Ubium, Arc. Ime Ekpo emphasized that the mode of distribution of the palliative is devoid of political parties, noting with pleasure that the items including rice, flour and garri are produced in Akwa Ibom State. While acknowledging the involvement of the village head and local government, he assured that the items provided by the state government would be distributed fairly to the grassroots.
On his part, the Head of Civil Service, Effiong Essien who supervised the disbursement in Ibesikpo Austan, lauded the Governor’s efforts to ensure that the plight of the people of Akwa Ibom State since the Coronavirus pandemic began, listing the food items that will be distributed.
The Commissioner for Works and Chairman for disbursement in ONNA, Akparawa Ephraim inyang said the palliatives were being distributed to families which hopefully will reduce the pressure received at the grassroots.
The distribution has continued to attract praises on the Governor Udom Emmanuel with a cross-section of people who see the initiative and gesture of the Governor as unprecedented.
The Chairman of Okobo who doubles as the chairman of Disbursement Committee in Okobo Local Government, Hon Ubuo Effiong Ubuo described Governor Udom Emmanuel as a man that understands the plight of the people he leads. He furthered that the palliative has been apportioned to the people at the grassroots.
Meanwhile, Dr Ekuwem who briefed the media on the disbursement eulogized Governor Udom Emmanuel’s foresightedness leading to the production of the majority of staple foods in the state, insists that the volume of items send to the respective villages would not have been possible if the government were to rely on importation.