Covid-19 Palliatives: Block diversion of reliefs by middlemen, officials, Ize-Iyamu urges Edo Govt

The leading aspirant of Edo APC, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu has called on the state government to investigate claims of diversion of relief items meant for distribution to the people to cushion the effect of COVID-19 restrictions by its officials and other distributors engaged in the exercise.

Immediately after the state-wide distribution exercise embarked on by Pastor Ize-Iyamu Support Organization that saw thousands of families get donations of food staples and other essentials in a rancor-free process across the 18 LGAs of Edo state, the state government followed suit with its own food distribution efforts. However, there have been several allegations of diversions and embezzlement of the items by government officials and other assigned political actors placed in charge of the distribution.

In a live broadcast livestream via his Facebook page in Benin City today, Pastor Ize-Iyamu urged the government to design a better distribution process that eliminates middlemen and ensures that the items reach the people in need of them directly.

He said: “We recognize that the state government has taken some steps to alleviate the consequences of disruptions caused by the pandemic even though we believe more can be done to ensure that the distributed relief items reach the very poor in need of them. At the moment, the state government’s effort is bedeviled by enduring accusations of middlemen who divert items and prevent them from achieving intended objectives – this must be addressed.”

Suggesting measures the government could adopt to keep the state’s economy alive, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu called for tax breaks and government patronize of farmers and other indigenous producers of essentials needed in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

He continued “As a further measure to defeat the virus, we urge the government to initiate and encourage the mass production of protective gears and sanitary products such as face masks, protective gloves, and hand sanitizers. The Ize-Iyamu Support Organization and other well-spirited persons have reached out to local tailors and seamstresses to mass-produce face masks using our local fabrics to be freely distributed across the state. This and other suggested measures will yield multiplier effects by increasing cash flow within the state thereby re-energizing the state’s economy which is already suffering from the negative effect of the pandemic.”

“An important measure which must attract the state government attention at this point, more than ever before, is the agricultural sector of the state. We urge government to articulate an aggressive policy response to ensure that with the onset of the raining season farmers in the state are encouraged, through fiscal intervention and agricultural extension services, to increase food-crop and animal production across the entire state. In this regard, we urge the government to reach out to all stakeholders in the agricultural sector with a view to quickly formulating the necessary policy intervention in the agricultural sector of the state in response to the pandemic. The overall objective is to ensure wide-spread availability of food during and after these anxious times.”

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu also recommended to the government to increase its testing capacity to quickly discover and isolate infected persons, and the need to embrace honesty and transparency in communications surrounding the disease and government expenditures after claims by the governor that the state had spent over a billion naira generated controversy and spurred allegations of fraud.

Suggesting measures the government could adopt to keep the state’s economy alive, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu called for tax breaks and government patronize of farmers and other indigenous producers of essentials needed in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

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