By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The retired Gen. Theophilus Danjuma led Victims Support Fund, VSF, Task Force on COVID-19, weekend donated N107.9million worth of food items and Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, to Benue state.
The donation was in continuation of the third phase of the distribution of such materials to states for onward distribution to needy.
Presenting the items in Makurdi, Chairperson of the Task Force, Mrs. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji explained that the donation was made based in the needs assessment carried out earlier in the state by her team.
She explained that “the Task Force on COVID-19 is an emergency response team inaugurated by the Chairman of the VSF, Gen. TY Danjuma (retd.) to provide palliative measures to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, and the vulnerable as well as provide institutional support to Government Agencies supporting the national effort to fight COVID-19.”
According to her, “the VSF Task Force on November 19, 2020, commenced the third phase of distribution of food and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) to IDPs as well as the most vulnerable in communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and seven other states in the North West and North Central.”
“The Task force had successfully carried out the first and second phases of the Covid 19 intervention in April and June 2020.
“And in continuation of its mandate, the Task Force will distribute rice, beans, maize, vegetable oil, salt, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) to 40,886 households and approximately 204,330 direct beneficiaries across Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Benue and agencies In the FCT.
“The state governments will receive 50 percent of the food items while local Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) will distribute 50 percent directly to IDPs and vulnerable people.
“The Task Force is also working closely with the Federal and State Government Agencies involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through collaboration with the National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) to target IDPs and Refugees with hygiene kits, children’s blankets and food items; and the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) to target vulnerable women,” she added.
Receiving the items on behalf of the Benue state government, Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prof. Anthony Ijohor who recalled the previous intervention of the Task Force in Agatu, Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of state commended the VSF for its support to the state.
He assured that in line with the policy of the government that ensures that palliatives got to the targeted beneficiaries in record time, the items would be distributed immediately.
The Executive Secretary of Benue State Emergency Management Agency. Dr. Emmanuel Shior, on his part said with the disposition of Governor Samuel Ortom on palliative distribution, a meeting would be held later in the day to work out modalities for the smooth distribution of the items.
Also speaking, Coordinator of CSOs in Benue state and Executive Director of Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiative, Dr. Helen Teghtegh reiterated that the CSOs would ensure strict monitoring and distribution of the items directly to the beneficiaries.
“We will ensure that the items are distributed directly and transparently to the IDPs and beneficiaries in the communities,” Dr. Teghtegh said.