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VSF targets 50,000 Lagos households, urges residents to stay at home

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Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal (right); Chairperson, Victims Support Fund COVID-19 task force, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji; Director of Programme, Prof. Nana Tanko; and Executive Director, Victims Support Fund, VSF, Prof. Sunday Ochoche at the presentation yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI<br />

The Victims Support Fund (VSF), Nigeria’s first private sector-led humanitarian initiative supporting Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the northeast for the past five years, yesterday as part of its effort to battle the global pandemic distributed relief items to 10 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Lagos State food bank to target about 50,000 households.

The items included 5,100 bags each containing 10kg rice, beans and garri, sachets of 2kg salt and kegs of 4ltr cooking oil. Presenting the items, the chairman of VSF’s Covid-19 Task Force, Mrs. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, said the move was to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and persuade more citizens to stay at home as government battles to flatten the curve of the pandemic.

She said: “On the instruction of the VSF chairman, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma (rtd.), though our focus over the last five years has been on the northeast, especially victims of terrorism and insurgency, we found out that we are in the middle of a global pandemic and we decided to target some frontline Covid-19 states and deploy our resources to assist government and citizens coping with the lockdown.

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“We started with Abuja last week, where we donated to 4,910 households with at least six family members each, then moved to Borno where we gave out palliatives to 6,137 households. We went to Yobe and donated to 3,828 households. From Yobe, we moved on to Adamawa and from there to Taraba, then to Ogun State and we arrived in Lagos. We know Lagos is at the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We at VSF are increasingly worried about how we can provide support for the state government to efficiently implement the lockdown order because we are concerned about the community transmission. If people are hungry, they will not stay at home, they will go out and it will be hard to flatten the curve.”

Receiving the items on behalf of the Lagos State government, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, said the donation will complement the state’s emergency food response, which has reached over 25,000 households in the state.

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“We are glad that the VSF have responded to our call for support. We appreciate the chairman, coordinator and the team for the gesture. This will boost our efforts at reaching many Lagosians as well as the 100,000 youths we are feeding daily across the state.”

Some of the NGOs that will distribute the relief materials include Mama Money Foundation, Kokun Foundation, Rethink City Initiative, Impact Your World Leadership Initiative, among others.

Apart from the food items, VSF also donated personal protective equipment, N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, alcohol-based hands sanitisers, soap, liquid disinfectant and will be investing in advocacy campaigns around risk communication to ensure people do not take coronavirus for granted.

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