Following the presidential directive to ease the sufferings of the vulnerable that might be affected by the lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq said trucks conveying relief materials have been deployed to affected states.
She said the trucks are expected to arrive at the affected states before the end of Monday.
She also hinted that she has commenced talks with state governors to ensure the continuation of the National Home Grown School feeding programme as directed by President Buhari.
The Minister disclosed this in Abuja while the Presidential Taskforce on control of COVID-19 briefed on measures put in place to ensure the total lockdown.
On how the relief materials would be distributed, Farouq said: “In paragraph 49 of the speech, Mr. President said that residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by this measures, we should deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.
“To achieve this, we must identify and reach the target of such communities and residents using available data at our disposal. This we have started doing, NEMA has deployed all the trucks, they are on-site and before the end of today (Monday), these trucks carrying relief materials will be deployed to these affected states of Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja.”
On how the school feeding programme would be implemented despite the closure of schools, she said: “In paragraph 50 of Mr. President’s speech, he directed that our ministry works with the relevant state governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding programme.
“We will be doing this and I have already started contacting the governors on agreeing on the modalities to adopt. I have accordingly contacted the programme heads of the programme and this may have to go beyond the affected states because as we are aware, all schools are closed down and children are at home. So, we are looking at modalities to see how we will extend this directive beyond the states where the lockdown has affected.”
Farouq also said the three months moratorium for all Tradermoni, Marketmoni, and Farmermoni would be immediate.
“Mr. President in paragraph 51 of his speech directed that a three months repayment moratorium for all Tradermoni, Marketmoni, and Farmermoni loans be implemented with immediate effect. We have already carried out the directive and we have contacted the officials handling the programme and we have directed that they implement this immediately.
“In paragraph 54 of Mr. President’s speech, he directed that the conditional cash transfers be given in advance of two months. This, we have also called the programme heads and we have directed that we start immediate payment of the cash transfer to the poorest and vulnerable households in our country.
“Let me reiterate here that because of COVID-19, the vulnerable groups have to be expanded because we have people who live on a daily wish and we are going to look at those groups of people to see how we can take the food relief intervention to these affected areas.”