By Oswald Agwu
Ebonyi State government has alloted over N15m with 6,000 bags of rice as COVID-19 palliatives to its citizens residing in Abuja and Lagos State.
Governor David Umahi revealed this on Wednesday during a statewide broadcast at the new government House, Abakaliki on the efforts of government to mitigate against the pandemic.
The governor who noted that he was not ignorant of the hunger and hardship faced by people across the country stated that the state was willing to do more as its economy improves.
He explained that the State would start immediately to distribute all palliatives accruable to it from the Federal government, private donors as well as those sourced by the State government fairly to all, irrespective of Party or other inclinations.
According to the Governor, Churches and religious leaders as well as leaders of the State would also be accommodated while widows and other vulnerable groups were to be given special attention under the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious and Welfare Matters.
Umahi explained: “And our palliatives to many sectors of the society will start today.
“I know there is hunger in the state and this is my number one priority: to fight hunger and poverty, and we are doing that…
“So, in this coming week,we will be sending palliatives to Lagos and Abuja to our people there.
“We will be sending 2,000 bags of 5kg rice and N5m to Abuja and 4,000 5kg rice and N10m to Lagos.
“They have to share it to our people from the 13 local government areas residing in the areas.
“This is the much we can do now.
“God helping us, we can do more.
“I know that people in Portharcourt, Enugu, Okigwe and other places will start asking, but I want you to know that there is no State that can provide for all its citizens.”
“Of course, Churches, religious leaders, some of our leaders will also get some rice from this season.”
The Governor during the broadcast, revealed that a total of 448 returnees were currently quarantined at the withholding centres across the sixty four development centres and 13 local government areas of the State.
He also revealed that a total of 818 samples have so far been tested for COVID-19 in the Ebonyi laboratory comprising mainly ebonyians with some from other states.
According the Governor, the last two positive cases involving a couple, later had their three year old baby test positive, making the total number of positive cases in the State eight, while a total of 378 suspected cases which turned negative had been treated of other ailments and discharged.
Meanwhile, the Governor used the ocasion to lift the suspension earlier placed on some members of the State Executive Council and Coordinators of Development Centres, including those in Afikpo North and Ivo LGAs who were suspended last Sunday for their negligence in border patrol and surveillance duties.
The Governor further directed the State Attorney General to liaise with the Courts to free all those held but not yet convicted for COVID-19 offences while modalities should be put in motion to release all Vehicles: buses, motorcycles and Tricycles impounded for contravening the COVID-19 laws.
Two hotels: New Haven hotel, Abakaliki and one other in Amasiri in Afikpo North LGA, previously sealed for defaulting COVID-19 regulations were also unsealed by the Governor.
While the Governor approved another window between May 15 and 23 for people to take and bury Corpses of their dead from the morgues across the State. He strengthened his earlier directive that no hospital should accept any Corpse for embalment for now.
Umahi however, warned: “From today, 13th May, any Government official that fails to do his or her work as expected will be removed from office.