News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items comprise bags of rice, beans, maize, vegetable oil, salt and hand sanitisers.
Others include boots, latex gloves, standards surgical face masks, reusable face masks and hazmat suits.
Speaking at the symbolic distribution of the palliatives on Saturday in Makurdi, the Chairman, VSF Task Force, Mrs Toyosi Akerele -Ogunsiji, said the body had intervened in several other states to cushion the hardships caused by the pandemic.
Akerele-Ogunsiji said the items would be distributed to the ” poorest of the poor ” in the society in order to cushion the effects of the disease on them.
She said she was convinced that the State Government would share the items to the target groups across the state.
She said the third phase of the task force , which commenced activities on Nov. 19, had moved across many geopolitical zones of the country to provide palliatives, especially to the most vulnerable groups in the society.
” The task force has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Internally Displaced Persons(IDP’s), as well as the most vulnerable communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and seven states in the North-West and the North-Central,” the chairman said.
She said the task force was inaugurated by the VSF Chairman, retired Gen. TY Danjuma, to provide succour to IDP’s, vulnerable groups in the society as well as render institutional support to government agencies in its efforts to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to her, the VSF task force has so far distributed foodstuff and PPE to 40,886 households and approximately 204,330 direct beneficiaries across Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau and Benue.
She said of the items so far distributed, State Governor received 50 per cent, while the remaining 50 per cent went to Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) for direct distribution to the target groups.
Akerele-Ogunsiji said the VSF had carried out extensive work in Agatu Local Government Area of the state by supporting hospitals with psychosomatic equipment, adding that the fund was the most visible in providing support to victims of conflicts in the country.
She said the fund had committed N1 billion for the procurement of the items being distributed across the country.
According to her, the task force is also supporting the reopening of schools across the country by drilling boreholes to support the hand washing initiative of the government aimed at curtailing the spread of the COVID -19 pandemic in the country.
She said the fund had also provided face masks to schools to serve between six months and one year.
The chairman assured that the fund would continue to “work to provide relief to victims of insurgency and armed conflicts in the country, especially in the core areas of livelihood and recovery, education and protection, including infrastructure development.”
Receiving the items on behalf of the Benue Government, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Tony Ijohor (SAN), assured the task force that the items would be distributed strictly to the targeted groups in the state.
Ijohor said the incumbent administration in the state had zero tolerance for corruption and would not waste time in distributing the items.
He commended the VSF team for supporting the rebuilding of schools and hospitals in the state that were damaged by armed conflicts.
Speaking with journalists after the symbolic launching of the distribution, the Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr Emmanuel Shior, said the state already had a template for the distribution of the items and would not waste time in commencing the exercise.
” We do not intend to keep the items in the warehouse to avoid the cost of securing them. We already have a template on the sharing and will commence distribution after a brief meeting,” Shior said.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf
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