The distribution of relief packages by the Lagos State Government has not gone down well with some residents of the state who have vented their frustrations on the lack of transparency in the exercise via the social media and other available information outlets. In response to these misconceptions, the Lagos State Government has sought to make clarifications on the programme.
Below is a release by the Lagos State Government on the matter.
In the past few days, the social media have been awash with biased opinions about the welfare package initiative of the Lagos State Government to support the indigent and the vulnerable.
The welfare package was one of the various decisions taken by the Lagos State Executive Council to ease the discomfort thrust on Lagosians by the lockdown announced by the Federal Government, especially on those who earn daily income.
It has become necessary to reiterate the modus of distribution of the welfare package as well as the category of beneficiaries of the government’s compassionate gesture, which is deliberately being distorted by mischief-makers.
For the avoidance of doubt, the first stage of the welfare package was designed to cater for 200,000 households, comprising of a father, mother and four children across the 20 local governments and the 37 local council development authorities. It is a misconception that it was meant for all Lagosians. No.
All aged residents who are above 60 years old and registered with the Lagos State Residents’ Registration Agency, LASRRA, were sent text messages and requested to confirm the accuracy of their details, such as name and home address. They have since responded to the text messages so as to benefit from the package.
The food relief materials for the above 60 group are being delivered directly to the beneficiaries by representatives of the State Government based on the data with the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency.
The other category of beneficiaries comprises the indigent and vulnerable within the various communities at the grassroots.
As part of strategies to ensure that the relief packages reach the deserving beneficiaries, the State government involved Community Development Associations and their Committees as well as Community and Religious Leaders to collate the names of community members who deserve to benefit from the palliative measure.
The CDAs were also tasked to ensure the items were judiciously distributed.
The government is constantly monitoring the process and has observed some lapses that gave rise to the negative comments on some social media platforms.
The issues are being addressed to fine-tune the strategies adopted in getting the food items across to the intended recipients of the package.
In all, about 100,000 households across the State have been reached since the exercise started.
Lagosians should remain confident that the State Government is working to ensure that the lapses are addressed so that the vulnerable, who Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said will not suffer, will benefit from this laudable intervention.
Agenda Watchdog lauds the efforts of the Lagos State Governments in ameliorating the plight of the vulnerable residents of the state, consequent to the lockdown imposed on the state by the federal government as part of wider efforts to ward of the increasing cases of the novel coronavirus in the state. The palliatives are most welcome in these critical times.
However, the state authorities should also endeavour to consider investigating some of the allegations made by Lagosians against the corrupt practices of some of the government officials involved in the distribution process in order to ensure that more of the relief packages get to their intended targets, rather than ending up in the households of politicians and their associates.
Corruption is an endemic problem that has stalled the country’s growth, and it is most manifest in the activities of public officials who abuse their positions to appropriate undue resources to themselves. It is advised that any government official who is caught in the act of stealing what is designated for distribution to the poor should be made to face the brunt of the law. From the point of release to their intended recipients, accountability should drive the distribution of these relief materials.
It should no longer be business as usual!