Lagos State Online Media Publishers (LASOMP) has commended the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) for berating the Lagos state government on the weak and defective method used by the state in distributing the lockdown palliatives to qualified Lagosians.
Few days ago, ‘LASOMP’ gave kudos to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his team for performing excellently well in curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic and offer to support the government in anyway they need the association’s assistance.
Commending NGIJ, LASOMP thanked the association for detecting this lapses; NGIJ in its official press statement lamented on the negligence of the government officials in charge , and this has resulted in widespread condemnation for the government as well as allegations of insensitivity from the residents of the state, including the CDA representatives and the general public who received beggarly and pitiful portions of foodstuff during the distribution.
The statement states further that ‘ the state government’s efforts at curtailing the pandemic were commendable, its palliative measures for residents especially the emergency food pack currently being distributed to residents is disgraceful, poor and ineffective, charging Gov. Sanwo-Olu to urgently revisit and overhaul the lockdown palliative plan.
NGIJ spokesman further said, as expected and applicable globally, Lagos State government came up with an apt idea of providing food especially for aged parents, widows, widowers and less privileged households with an emergency food pack.
However, the selective distribution approach was shrouded in utmost secrecy with beggarly food pack quantities being ditributed, lack of transparency and alleged large scale diversion of the food packs by officials has made a mess and mockery of the entire process",
Members of LASOMP confirmed this in some LGA's like Agege, Alimosho, Ikorodu, among others.
However, it's worthy of mentioning that IKeja constituency, comprising of Ikeja, Onigbongbo and Ojodu did very well as members of LASOMP were there during the distribution and it was shared accordingly. Hon. Toke Benson SA to governor Sanwo-Olu on Housing, Hon. Bunmi Julius Oluyadi Vice Chairman Ojodu LCDA, among others championed the course, LASOMP confirmed.
NGIJ spokesman in the release also said;
"the guild was shocked and appalled by the various reports and the attendant disillusionment generated. NGIJ has been inundated with reports, viral video accounts and verified cases of residents receiving pitiful food packs, including multiple videotaped cases of two sachets of tomatoes, and two bowls of rice and beans given to an entire street.
For example, there were embarrassing accounts from Ijede communities under Ikorodu constituency made up of 127 CDA, where each of the CDAs was asked to compile a list of names of aged parents, widow, less privileged and widowers with at least 40 in some and some between 50 and 80 names submitted since last week Sunday.
Surprisingly on Saturday only five packs were handed for 80 persons for my own CDA, said one of the CDA representatives.
“In my CDA at Agege where 40 names were forwarded 5 packs for 40 persons. I did not know what is going on because personally, the government is not fair to us. If they want the emergency food to go around I believe religious bodies, stakeholders and royal fathers should be part of the programme, said another source.
“Many of the CDAs here did not have at all, a source said, adding that the local government chairman kept the food packs for sharing to their members later.”
The Guild charges the government to show more sensitivity to the people considering that the lock down had crippled the economic activities as well as the source of livelihood for many residents. As much as the government may not choose to share food packs to all residents, a basic threshold is at least expected to be met. Giving 5 units of very small food pack to an entire street of about 2000 people amounts to reckless insensitivity, humiliation and travesty.
NGIJ spokesman urged the state government to urgently rejig the entire plan, make sufficient units available, work with trusted social and community leaders, block leakages and reverse the deplorable trend.
We also urge the government to be transparent in handling the disbursement of the various donations from well-meaning Nigerians, philanthropists and multinationals that have donated handsomely to cushion the impact of the crises", He said."
Meanwhile, Honourable commissioner for information Mr. Gbenga Omotosho in a phone conversation revealed that the process is not an easy task as there's no way people can be satisfied but promised that the state will improve subsequently.
Speaking on this development, the President of LASOMP Mr Sola Adeyemo, assured NGIJ that LASOMP will do a close monitoring on the distribution if the state government is ready to cooperate with us. We are always ready to serve Lagos state as only the best is good for Lagosians, he maintained.