COVID-19: How Governor Okowa’s Food Palliatives Became An  Insult To Deltans – The Liberator 

By Binebai Princewill

No doubt, the novel coronavirus pandemic has been devouring countries around the world like voodoo bees crumbling economies as the entire human race has come under serious attack.

The coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19 continue to sweep through the world, businesses and almost all meaningful things to the human existence seems to be crumbling, it shows that the entire human race in the world is in for the worse particularly with the fact that there is no categorical cure to the rampaging sudden disease.
As the Covid-19 continues to take its toll around the globe, Nigeria often described as the giant of Africa is actually having its far share in the novel coronavirus with the steady rise of positive cases that is fast spreading to states in the country.
As the fight to defeat coronavirus rages on, the Delta State Government under the control and leadership of His Excellency, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of the state has on April 1st declared a total lockdown in the state for about two weeks which of course is a welcome development to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.
The total lockdown is that all tertiary institutions, primary, secondary and infact any public gatherings, church services, burials and what have you have been banned.
It follows that all businesses in the state including all those who go out to look for their daily breads before getting food for their families are prohibited from going out to fend for themselves.
This is no doubt not a bad idea as Delta is not the only state that has placed such order, Deltans obeyed as the day one of the total lockdown claimed the life of a prominent young man, Joseph Pessu by security operatives who tries to enforce compliance.
The initial two weeks lockdown became an hell to the masses but as for those seating in glass houses, it was an enjoyment galore as whatever they need will be there for them even till the next four to five years as the case maybe but for the common man, it was indeed an hell as they prayed daily for the two weeks to elapse for things to return normal.
The bad news for Deltans was the report of cases of coronavirus in the state out of which the state even recorded one death out of one of the infected coronavirus patients, the person died before his test result even came out which sparked some level of controversies among residents of the state.
With the cases above, at the expiration of the first two weeks that ought to elapse on the 14th of April, Deltans were all glued to their radio, Tv stations and all news platforms to hear what the Governor would say with the hope of relaxing the lockdown for things to go back to their normal status.
But the news came as a shocking one as the Governor extends not only the lockdown for two weeks but has also imposed a 7pm to 7am dawn to dusk curfew with all the ingredients in the first phase of the lockdown still present with more tougher additions.
Meanwhile, Governor Okowa of Delta State considered all sides of the coin and after a wide consultation among stakeholders, he took the decision to avoid spread of the virus in the state which as at when the decision was taken had already risen. Any Governor who truly cares for his citizens will naturally take the decision to protect his people.
With the addition, Deltans will now have to be locked down in their houses for about 28 days, approximately one month without going out to fend for themselves that is even when there is going to be no extension which remains a drama that will be playing out soonest as the second phase of the lockdown approaches its last days.
However, while the State Government has been giving directives upon directives and Deltans obeying, there was a protest at Sapele calling for the Governor to rethink the second phase of the lockdown, the protest was necessitated by hunger as the protesting women cries out about going out to fend for themselves since the state Government cannot come out with any visible plan to ameliorate their sufferings.
Security agencies in the state while trying to calm the protesting women fired teargas and a vigilante allegedly fired gunshots into the protesting women and wounded a youth that was among the protest.
Similar protest also took place at Bomadi, headquater of the Local Government Area but this time is commercial motorcycle riders calling on the Governor to rethink the total lockdown order in the state.
Nevertheless, political actors have stated that the decision for extending the total lockdown in the state was for the interest of Deltans which will give the state Government and health workers ample time to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the state.
Regrettably, the Delta State Government has been givings orders without palliatives throughout the first phase of the lockdown, Deltans did not get anything from the government but into the second phase of the lockdown, people begin to hear the word “food bank ” stored at Ibusa was said to be distributed to Deltans as palliative to cushion the effect of the lockdown to residents of the state by the government.
There where high level of publicity as Deltans hoped to receive the said food items as palliative from the state Government.
It became a show of shame and an insult to Deltans as the state Government dished out the said food items from the Ibusa food bank to all local government areas in the state which was further distributed to all communities in the Local Government Areas constituting Delta State.
The end product of the said food palliatives to the people ended with just two (2) cups of beans for a person while in other cases one (1) cups of rice and beans only per person.
The situation is like this in Burutu and testimonies from other local governments are also pointing towards this direction of cup (s) of rice, beans and what have you for a person.
The question Deltans are asking is that is it the cup or cups of rice, beans that will cushion the effect of the 28 days lockdown in the state as palliative from the government to residents or vulnerables as they claimed.
Many Deltans are confused as to what the state Government is really doing in mitigating the sufferings of the people if all what it could do is to distribute cup (s) of rice, beans and what have you.
There are even cases that the items did not get to even some vulnerable people in some parts of the state, how do the government defines who is vulnerable or not when not everyone in the state are salary earners still remains a story to be told another day.
It is also a truism that Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), well meaning individuals, companies and other bodies are trying their bests by donating food items to even the state Government and residents of the state to cushion the effect of the lockdown to Deltans occasioned by the novel coronavirus.
It appears that the above mentioned institutions have done more for Deltans than the state Government itself that is known for only making declarative statements. What a twisted irony the people must have been grappling with.

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