We’ve taken care of over 200,000 households in Lagos, Says Commissioner
• Oyakhilome Foundation Fetes Thousands
Faith-based non-governmental organization under the auspices of the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International, InnerCity Mission for Children, yesterday presented its COVID-19 Emergency Food Donation with the Lagos State government for distribution at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege, Lagos.
During the presentation to the Lagos State Commissioner of Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, the foundation said the challenge of the poor is not just about their needs and by donating to the needy in the society, especially during the lockdown, the Church is equally meeting its own needs.
Speaking with The Guardian during the donation, Director, Innercity Mission for Children, Pastor Omo Alabi, said it is in the interest of the church to help the poor. “Our relief packages contain food supplies and hygiene kits required to curb the spread of the virus and so far, over 300,000 meals have been distributed.”
“For more than a decade, the InnerCity Mission has actively carried out various programmes and initiatives that have impacted the lives of millions of needy children and families. From reaching the indigent in one country, our reach and impact have spread to over 50 countries benefitting over 20 million people, mostly children.
“Lagos State has recorded the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Although with good intentions, the compulsory lockdown mandated by the government has the potential to disproportionately hurt the vulnerable and disadvantaged in the society who already lacks access to stable livelihood, food security, sanitary essentials, and other basic needs. Most of these survive through their daily means of sustenance which has now been taken away by the lockdown. While the measures put in place by the government to curb the spread of the virus are commendable, we must remember that for the needy, even as they run from the invisible enemy outside, they have to face another enemy at home, which is hunger.
“We recognise the efforts of the Lagos State government in providing for those most disadvantaged by the situation. However, with an estimated population of over 20 million people, we know that the government needs all the support they can get. Already, there have been reports of a spate of robberies in different parts of the state with citizens having to defend themselves against those who say hunger has pushed them into crime. While we do not excuse the violence, we understand that hunger may provide an incentive for the needy to take out their grievances on society.
This is why we are partnering with the Lagos State government to distribute much-needed food items contributing to the government’s response plan. Our Emergency Food Response targets vulnerable children, households and communities to help them cushion the effects of the government’s stay-at-home directive. Already, this has begun in different countries as an offshoot of our Global Food Drive Initiative which kicked off in the month of March.
Lawal while thanking the foundation for the gesture promised to distribute the food items judiciously. “We started about 20 days ago and so far, we have taken care of over 200,000 households. Also, the government has commenced feeding residents at the community kitchen as it is known and the intention is to feed 100,000 households.”
And now, we are at the second phase, where we distribute to ethnic groups, and religious organizations, change organisations, trade organisations, lots of people in the informal sector and some vulnerable communities and some other Lagosians. He added, “It will also be recalled that the government has so commenced the feeding at the community kitchen as it is known. The intention is to feed 100,000 households, and that is what the government has done in terms of reducing the burden that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered
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