The Nigerian government has been advised to re-strategise and partner with religious institutions and community leaders in the distribution of palliatives to ensure wider reach to vulnerable citizens.
A Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Francis Kale, gave the advice in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital during the distribution of some palliatives by the Catholic Women Organisation of the Archdiocese of Abuja, CWOAA, to her indigent members.
Rev. Fr. Kale, who is the Archdiocesan Spiritual Director of the group, said that the government could partner with reputable institutions like the Catholic Church and community leaders to ensure that relief materials provided by the government to reduce the hardship brought by COVID-19 on Nigerians, get to the nook and crannies of the country.
“What we are saying is that the government should re-strategise or if possible the government can partner with the Church or with the community leaders so that the community leaders will be able to identify the needy members in their vicinity, in their villages and their streets. If only we can do that, I think it will be better’ he said.
The clergyman also said the Catholic Church could partner with the government in assisting the farmers this farming season.
“In my little discussion with the Archbishop, the farmers can form small cooperative groups and the Church can help them with seedlings and fertilizers, that is for the Church. For the government, for a very long time, we have been talking about food security, if you see what is happening , it is not a sign of good thing to come because this is a farming season but you have to eat before you go to farm. People are really, really hungry and some what they kept to plant, because of hunger, they have eaten it. So if the government can come in very strongly, empower them, provide them also with seedlings, fertilizers and make tractors available to them in cooperative groups and give out these tractors at cheaper rate so that each group can hire them,” he added.
Father Kale explained that insecurity is another problem confronting the farmers and urged the government to play her role very decisively in this regard. According to him, so many farmers want to go to farm but because of insecurity, they are afraid to do so.
Expressing concern about when the COVID-19 pandemic would end, the Priest said the faster the government came to the aid of farmers, the better in order to ensure food sufficiency in future.
Presenting the palliative items worth about two million Naira, the CWOAA President, Mrs Mary Imaezue, said that with the items consisting of bags of rice, beans, maize, millet and Personal Protective Equipments, they were able to reach 560 indigent and vulnerable families in the 82 parishes in the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja.
Mrs Imaezue said that her organisation would continue this support until they were able to cover their members. “We have eighty-two parishes that are of CWO members in the Archdiocese. We asked the Parish CWO Presidents to provide vulnerable members and widows in their parishes. There are women who may have their husbands with them but they cannot afford square meals for now, we assist them. It is not the end of it, we urge parishes to continue to provide for their vulnerable members. We thank the Hon. Minister of women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, who donated so many items to us. She really helped us. By the grace of God, COVID-19 pandemic will soon be over”
Mrs Imaezue asked the women to obey all the health directives of the government such as social distancing, the wearing of face masks the use of hand sanitizers and maintaining high personal hygiene standards in their homes.
Source: Voice of Nigeria