By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-IN a bid to alleviate the suffering of some vulnerable people in Abuja following the lockdown arising from COVID-19 pandemic, the Alumni of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, has donated palliative items to the FCT administration for onward distribution to 500 households.
The palliatives items which included 2,000 cartons of face masks, 500 cartons of spaghetti, 500 bags of rice, 30 cartons of power oil, among others, according to the organisation, under the aegis of Alumni Association of the National Institute, AANI, were meant for families who eke out a living doing menial jobs in the nation’s capital.
The AANI COVID-19 committee under the Chairmanship of Hajia Aisha Dankani, the Vice President of AANI, handed over the items to the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu at the weekend, in Abuja.
Aisha Dankani, who represented the President of AANI and former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar at the presentation ceremony, said the Alumni decided to contribute money among themselves to buy and distribute these food items as part of their contribution to alleviating the suffering of the masses, following the recent lockdown.
According to Dankani, the decision of the FCT administration to identify the neediest in the society through data provided by the National Agency For the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) as direct beneficiaries is a welcome development.
She said, “We are representatives of the Alumni Association of the National Institute, AANI, and we are here because we are worried like many Nigerians over the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequence of the lockdown.
“We came together and felt that we should touch the lives of people who the lockdown has affected greatly. And we, therefore, put down some palliatives for the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory for onward distribution to the needy in the FCT.
“For the first batch, we are doing three at the moment. Yesterday, we flagged off in Lagos. Today, we are doing in the FCT and Monday, we are doing in Kano in the first instance then we will go on to other states.
“We are focusing on Lagos, FCT, and Kano in the first batch because they are the most affected by the lockdown and they are the most affected by the pandemic at the first instance. I think these are the most affected states before others came on board.
“As the minister stated, there is NAPTIP and there is NEMA which they are working with and there is that arm in the FCT which I believe, have data of the needy. They have the people they know could reach down easily to the needy.
“We decided to do things differently here. Instead of jumping the items, we counted and targeted 500 families and by 500 families, we said each bag of the rice, one packet of spaghetti, and an amount of the oil will be given to a family. So, it is very easy for the people who are overseeing this to see that they have names of 500 families that have benefited from AANI.
“AANI’s target is those who earn daily bread and yet because of the lockdown, they cannot go out to do anything. You and I, I’m sure in one month of the lockdown, were able to buy some food even when we were not going out.
“People that earn salaries were not denied salaries because of the lockdown but people that have to strive every morning to get N100, N200, N500 or N1000 to feed the family and I know they are very many in number, are the people most affected by the lockdown and that is the worry of AANI”.