Frontline indigenous organisation of the Edo people, Edo Progressive Indigenes Association (EPIA) has expressed deep concern over the exclusion of Edo State from the COVID-19 intervention funds for poor Nigerians.
EPIA’s National President, Bishop Omogiade E Edokpolo stated this while answering questions in an interview with Jungle Journalist Media Limited reporter in Benin.
He berated the sharing formula used at arriving at the 18 states that received the funds, and the percentages for each beneficiary state.
“It smacks of bias, ethnic favouritism and imbalance. The president should not forget that this coronavirus is an emergency and all Nigerians are in this together. This is a time we must show love and care to all our people and stop thinking of who comes from our own divide of the country.
“Excluding Edo and even Delta States from the palliatives is very unacceptable, and this must be reversed urgently. Edo people are also really suffering as a result of Covid-19 and so are so many other states. The Household Uplifting Programme (HUP) group should draw up their list to include Edo and begin the transfers now that the funds are a necessity.
“The percentages for sharing is also very skewered to favour Northern states and this should be stopped, and all states represented equally.
“On this note, we therefore call on the FG to urgently include Edo State as we are one of the 5 most affected states in Nigeria and needs urgent assistance.
“All our Indigenes are looking forward to these stipends to support the lockdown measures.
“This should also be applied to every state in Nigeria as all Nigerian indigenes deserve an equal share”, Edokpolo stated.
Recall that the HUP Conditional Cash Transfer of five thousand Naira (N5,000) began recently in 18 states. Out of this, only 6 southern states benefitted, and neither Edo nor Delta was included in the distribution of the palliatives.