Rivers state government on Monday, inaugurated a 40-man committee with the mandate to ensure even distribution of the palliatives to ease off the harsh effect of the subsidy removal policy.
The committee which has the former Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea, Desmond Akawor as chairman has so far received 16,800 50kg bags of rice to be distributed to the most vulnerable people in the 23 local government areas of the state.
Ambassador Akawor who is also the Rivers state chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, disclosed that the rice would be distributed according to ward structure with each of the 319 wards in the state taking delivery of fifty bags of rice each.
According to him, the over 16,000 bags of rice were made available by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, adding that some undisclosed bags of maize were still being expected to ameliorate the hardship being experienced by some indigent citizens.
Speaking during the inauguration in Port Harcourt, the state capital, Akawor said “The expectation is high. We all know that following the removal of fuel subsidy, people are going through quite a lot of excruciating pains. Of course, different groups have come up to support including the Federal Government.
“The Governors Forum equally made their own support. His Excellency, Governor Siminilaye Fubara believes that we should ensure that these materials get to the most vulnerable in the society up to the grassroots. That is why we have enlarged the membership of this committee”, he said.
The committee chairman noted that it would be easier for the Local Government chairmen to manage the logistics in the distribution of the palliatives, noting that “whatever we have collected from the state level, you should replicate that at the LG level. The representative of the CSO at the state level should ensure that their representatives at the LG level.
“This may be the first phase and we are going to use the same template for other items that are coming. We should be able to send these things to those who are really in need. We are receiving 16,800kg bags of rice from the Governors’ Forum. We have all agreed that if we use the structure as a ward, it means that each ward will get like 50 bags for this one that has come from the Governors’ Forum.
“Whatever is left which is approximately 850, we have to go for the physically challenged. As more things come, we will use the same platform. We will set up a monitoring team to ensure that these things are being monitored”.
Akawor said though he is the state chairman of the PDP, the distribution process would not be politicized. “This has nothing to do with politics. It is not for any particular political party. What has been brought is for Rivers people. After this rice, we are going to receive some bags of maize. The number of bags has not been specified”, he said.
The committee is composed of representatives of various political parties, religious leaders, labour leaders, traditional rulers, and the media.
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