by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Plateau state government has lamented the devastating effect, which the coronavirus pandemic has had in the state, “ultimately affecting the health and economy of government and citizens, and the most affected are vulnerable persons whose means of livelihood are virtually erased.”
The state governor, Simon Lalong, disclosed this during a flag-off of distribution of palliatives donated by the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) at JIB warehouse in Jos on Wednesday’
Lalong noted that, “As a government, we took several steps towards ensuring that we did not only contain the pandemic, but also mitigated its impact on the lives of the people.
“This was even more crucial because of the series of lockdowns and restrictions we imposed in the course of managing the disease.”
He explained that, “Realizing the hardship faced by the most vulnerable members of the society, we set up the Plateau State Palliative Committee, headed by the Deputy Governor, his Excellency, Prof. Sonni Tyoden.
“The committee successfully distributed palliatives purchased by the State Government to the various categories of vulnerable persons, which included orphanages, the elderly, widows and displaced persons, among others.”
The governor commended the Deputy Governor and members of his committee for carrying out the exercise transparently and with all sincerity and fairness.
He also commended all organisations and well-spirited individuals for their donations, both in kind and in cash, to the Plateau State Covid-19 Endowment Fund, saying, “All these boosted our capacity to reach out to the vulnerable, and also sustain the testing and treatment of those affected by the pandemic.
“the gesture by CACOVID will definitely extend the frontiers of what we have been doing by reaching other vulnerable persons, who did not benefit from the previous efforts.
“In the distribution, CACOVID has set out clear criteria for identifying qualifying households that will benefit from the Food Relief Programme. Our role as a state is to facilitate this process, based on defined guidelines.
“The items being received today will be distributed by the State Implementation Committee, which comprises of CACOVID Monitoring and Evaluation Team, Representatives of the Media, Representatives of Security Agencies and Representatives of the State Palliative Committee,” Lalong noted.
The governor also revealed that, the implementation committee will further organize for the representatives of all the local government areas to collect the allocations for each LGA and oversee the redistribution to eligible beneficiaries in each ward, based on set guidelines and schedules.
He said, CACOVID has set a target of two weeks for these items to be distributed to identifiable households under strict documentation, being reliably informed that each household will get some quantity of rice, pasta, noodles, sugar, salt, garri, semo or maize.
“Let me register most, profoundly, the appreciation of the people and government of plateau state to CACOVID for this kind gesture, which again demonstrates their corporate social responsibility and high regards to the welfare of the people, despite the difficult times that businesses are facing as a result of the disease.
“No doubt, the intervention of both the business community and the private sector is greatly assisting the government to cope with the huge challenges of managing the disease.
“Interventions such as the 100-bed Isolation Centre donated to Plateau State by the Dangote Foundation in Shendam have greatly assisted us to isolate and treat those infected by the virus.”
Governor Lalong narrated that, “We have increased our testing capacity as we have three testing centres at the NVRI Vom, Plateau Specialists Hospital and the University of Jos Teaching Hospital. These have enabled us to test about 500 persons per day and, so far, we have tested over 15 thousand.
“I wish to use this opportunity to remind our people that we are currently witnessing community transmission of the disease and, as such, we should apply extra caution by strictly adhering to COVID-19 guidelines,” he cautioned.
He urged the people to also submit themselves to testing, saying, “because that is the only way we can have the requisite information to deal with the disease, and should also be ready to get used to the new lifestyle under COVID-19.”