One of the female recipients of the palliatives being handed over an envelope containing cash during the disbursements by a member of the AOPP Task Team. PHOTO: Dr. Uche Uwakwe
*As Prof. Ejike urges FG, Enugu State to include the community’s indigent in the National Social Register
*Beneficiaries express inestimable joy
From Maurice Okafor, Enugu
The Aguobu-Owa Patriots Forum Saturday distributed second round of palliatives to the poor and vulnerable persons in the community.
The palliatives disbursement witnessed 90 beneficiaries drawn from six communities comprising of Ogwofia, Umuaji, Ezedume, Ezema, Okunito and Umudim, who received cash and other material gifts from the Task Team put together for the purpose.
Before dispatching the Team, Prof. Chiweyite Ejike, a former university Pro-Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, called on both the Federal Government and the Enugu State government to include the identified indigent/vulnerable persons in Aguobu-Owa in the National Social Register.
According to the retired university administrator, “We have compiled a list of the indigent and vulnerable people in our community who are currently the beneficiaries of the Aguobu-Owa Peoples Palliatives (AOPP) disbursements.
“We are using this opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government and the Enugu State Government to please include these people in the National Social Register.
“Nobody, not even a single person, from our community has ever benefitted from the Federal Governemt’s Conditional Cash Transfer. And there are several of them as you can see by yourself.
“These are extremely poor people: the aged, who have nobody to take care of them; the physically challenged, who cannot even do anything without the support of another person, and the not too dangerous but somehow mentally-challenged persons.
“However, I must not fail to commend the good sons and daughters of Aguobu-Owa, their friends and in-laws, who have risen to this challenge and made donations for the purse we are handing out to these vulnerable people.
“We have analysed the successes achieved and are convinced that we still need to upp the ante because no observed that we still have more vulnerable and poor people who were not captured in the two tranche of disbursents we made already.
“Immediate palliatives thus far accomplished, would concentrate on initiating self-sustaining poverty alleviation projects that would coincide with the early stages of the farming season this year to target food production by individual, family and community collectives.
“This stage would also have to be accompanied with reasonable food maintenance support for the extreme poor.
“Let us, all of us, brace up for this urgent patriotic salvage mission in aid of a better life for the much neglected segment of our Communites who now are dangerously immensely vulnerable to unmitigated misery under the covid-19 pandemic,” Prof Ejike said.
The Field Commander of the Task Team, Chief (Comrade) Chumaife Nze, a former Enugu State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), supervised the disbursements in five locations: Ashua Eke, Obodongwu, Ezi-be-Aniakor, Ashua Umudim and T-Junction (Ashua Otanishi) Umuaji respectively.
The beneficiaries comprising of the aged, widows/widowers, physically and mentally challenged, extremely poor persons and the terminally ill, received their gifts either personally or through representatives.
Addressing the beneficiaries at each of the disbursement centers, Comrade Nze explained educated them on the contagious and dangerous nature of corona virus, which he said has crippled the global economy and put social activities to a halt.
He appealed to Aguobu-Owa residents and indigines to adhere strictly to health and NCDC advisory by always wearing their face masks, putting a halt to traditional hand shakes or embracing one another, stop gathering in groups for ceremonies or for whatever reason, gather in groups during burials or other social engagements, and equally reminded them to constantly wash their hands with running water and soap for no less than 20 minutes.
Chief Nze dismissed insinuation in the hinterland that covid-19 is a phantom, pointing out that several people had already died as a result of the pandemic, which probes it to be real and dangerous.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to our correspondents expressed gratitude over the support received and danced for joy.
They explained that they had never been supported in such a manner before and prayed God to replenish the examplary empathy of the donors and grant them good health and protection from covid-19 and other illnesses.