COVID-19: I have hope Nigeria will survive, be united  ― Olu of Warri 

• as Foundation donates palliatives worth N154.5 to Delta 

Olu of Warri, His Majesty (HM), Ogiame Ikenwoli, has raised optimism that with the supports being rendered by various philanthropists to indigent Nigerians since the advent of COVID-19, there’s hope that Nigeria will survive and be united.

Tribune Online reports that the monarch gave the optimism when he received members of the General TY Danjuma (retd)-led Victims Support Fund (VSF) COVID-19 Task Force, at his palace in Warri, Delta State at the weekend.

The Olu conjectured that God knows the reason he allowed COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of a new decade and prayed that the scourge should return just the way it came.

He thanked the COVID-19 task force led by Mrs Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, who presented palliatives comprising rice in 10kg, beans in 10kg, garri in 10kg vegetable oil in 4litres and salt in 2kg as well as Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) to the government and people of the state.

Mrs Akerele-Ogunsiji, while presenting the items to the representative of the Olu of Warri, Chief Clement Maleghemi, said the monetary value of the items the taskforce donated to Delta State alone were worth N154.5 million, targeting 2, 758 vulnerable homes.

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She said 266, 532, 266 and 266 households of the most vulnerable were drawn from five local governments namely: Warri, Warri South-West, Oshimili North and Warri South respectively.

According to her, the distribution would be carried out under the watchful eyes of the taskforce by some selected reputable CSOs in what she tagged the second phase of the programme in Edo, Delta, Enugu, Ebonyi and Ekiti states.

Speaking further on the philanthropic gesture, Mrs Ogunsiji said the overall target was at least 200, 000 households, urging the CSOs across the beneficiary states to ensure probity in the distribution.

“With the intention that this food will reach the indigent and vulnerable families of Delta State.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19, we are aware that a lot of citizens have lost their jobs, a lot of companies are unable to function at full capacity. The government is operating at a very slow speed.

“A lot of things have come to a grounding halt because of the fear of human to human transmission of coronavirus and definitely looking into ensuring that we as the first private-led humanitarian initiative in Nigeria, we support the citizens to ensure that their economic status and livelihood are not totally destroyed in the middle of this pandemic that we really never prepared for,” she noted.

Mrs Akerele-Ogunsiji, who was accompanied by Prof (Mrs) Nana Tanko, Director of Programmes, Prof. Sunday Ochoche,  Executive Director and Mr Alkasim Abdukadir, a task force member, urged the four CSOs tasked with the distribution of the items across the state to do a good job.

“And so we want to enjoin the people to whom we are handing over these food items, we trust them, we definitely know the importance and recognize their sense of responsibility.

“As you know, I think some of you joined us to the palace of the Olu of Warri and it is on instructions that we are handing over these food items to the palace chiefs to ensure that the food items get to the ordinary people of Warri town, Warri kingdom, across the entire domain.

“So we are hoping that the food items will get to people we intend for it to reach. And we as the Victims Support Fund Taskforce of COVID-19, have also put in place a very solid data-driven monitoring, tracking and evaluation exercise to ensure that we don’t just donate the food and leave.

“Our staff are going to be on the ground to join in the distribution. The handover to our community-based partners and to ensure that the food items get to the grassroots and the local community where the indigent people are in high population,” she averred.

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