The Kwara State Palliative Committee has commenced the distribution of 250,000bags of 10Kg rice palliatives across the 16 local government areas of the state.
The exercise kick-started on Wednesday with Asa and Oke-Ero being the first two local government areas to benefit from the initiative.
The rice palliative funded by the federal government in partnership with state governments seeks to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal on the most vulnerable citizens.
One of the food palliatives committee members, Mr. Lawal Olalekan Olohungbebe, said the government is doing everything to give the people what belongs to them which explains why they are on ground to ensure an adequate distribution exercise as expected by the state government.
“What is going on here is giving to people what they actually deserve and government is doing everything for the people to get what belongs to them through the distribution of 10kg rice.
“The funding of the rice palliatives was actually by the federal government and that’s what you can see us doing here, distributing 10kg bags of rice to different local government areas in Kwara State.
“We have 16 local government areas and each LG has been assigned with their own number of bags of rice depending on their population. So, every local government is getting from what we have. Presently, we are taking the first batch of the consignment to Asa and Oke-Ero Local Government Areas. Those are the two local governments we are concentrating on for today. Tomorrow, we are going to another.
“What we are doing presently is to ensure that different wards from the LGs are here to pick up their stuffs and as they are taking them to the communities, members of civil society organisation or any NGO are being attached to them together with the police to deliver the items.
“They have actually been informed that the items are not for every community member, the government understands that everybody is now vulnerable but we are looking at the extremely vulnerable members. These are people that even before the subsidy removal, they were not very well, not to talk of now that it’s been removed. These people include the physically challenged persons who are poor, being a widow is not the issue but widows who are poor, aged people who have no one to take care of them and many others in different categories.
“All these, we as a committee cannot identify them at the ward levels that’s why we ensure every ward has palliative distribution committee which is made up of the most senior traditional ruler in the ward, the most senior pastor, most senior Imam, representative of the youths, representative of women and representative of people living with disabilities and at the same time, depending on the peculiarity of each ward, all tribes in each ward are represented, then they generate the list of those who are extremely in need.”
Dr. Olohungbebe noted that this development is just one of different layers of the pallatives the state government is rolling out, citing the N10,000 added to the monthly pay of the civil servants, buses conveying students to the their schools and even many more to come as palliative measures.
For his part, one of the stakeholders in Oke-Ero Local Government, Chief M.S Oni, the Odofin of Iloffa who came in respect of his district said the rice may be too small to some people, but the fact that it makes a whole lot of sense to the extremely vulnerable persons makes it a laudable gesture.
According to another member of the committee, Pastor Stephen Awoyale, Asa Local Government Area as at January 2023 is 208,978 population. It has 17 wards and the assigned pallatives are 11,000 bags of rice in total.
“The population of Oke-Ero is 95,235 with 10 wards. Therefore, 4,400 bags of rice were assigned to the area in total” he said.