As the sharing of palliative in the states in the South-South regions continues, Akwa Ibom State recently distributed its first set of palliatives. The state government had on 14th April declared a lockdown to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state. The state government also made attempts to provide food items to poor residents to enable them to cope during the lockdown.
The Akwa Ibom Civil Society COVID-19 Situation Room, supported by Social Action, reports that food items distributed to members of communities in the local government areas (LGAs) of the state are inadequate to meet the needs of the vulnerable. In a state which has 31 LGAs, the Situation Room could confirm the distribution of palliatives in 7 LGAs. The LGAs that received include, Ibesiko Asutan, Etinan, Itu, Ibiono Ibom, Nsit Ibom, UdungUko and Essien Udim. The palliatives included bags of rice, beans, garri and were received by the village heads and shared to communally members.
In those LGAs, most households received a paltry quantity that could barely sustain a household for a day, and some households did not receive anything at all. The fortunate beneficiaries only received a few cups of garri, rice and beans. Also, there were complaints of bias in the distribution of food items. The observation from the Covid-19 Situation Room was that in virtually all the LGAs where the sharing took place, political affiliation took precedence over other considerations as ruling party faithful were reported to be the major beneficiaries of the food items while non-party affiliates received little or nothing from the sharing. Although a list of persons considered to be the poorest was put down in some LGAs, yet the structure and system of sharing the palliatives failed. The list was not used as the people in charge devised a pattern of sharing that they deemed fit.