Some residents of Abakaliki have advised the Ebonyi Government to ensure that partisanship and political patronage do not play out in its distribution of the palliative items.
The items are parts of measures to cushion the effects of COVID-19 lockdown.
They gave the advice in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abakaliki.
They appealed to Gov. Dave Umahi to ensure that only people of credible integrity and character would be appointed to oversee the distribution of the relief items to would-be beneficiaries.
Mr Boniface Nwachukwu, a retired civil servant, said that care must be taken to ensure that the process was not hijacked by politicians in the state.
He added that efforts should be made to ensure transparency in the distribution of the palliative items.
“We have looked forward to getting the relief items to serve as relief to the hardship occasioned by the almost two months of economic and social lockdown, due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
He said that the state government had announced recently that it would distribute the palliative items from both the Federal and state governments to the people.
He described the announcement as cheering news.
He, however, said that he was afraid that the process might be hijacked.
“Government should ensure transparency, fairness and do everything to prevent politicians taking advantage of the process to favour their cronies and supporters.
“Everybody deserving to benefit from the governments’ palliative should receive irrespective of political affiliation or leaning,” Nwachukwu said.
Mr John Nwebonyi, a physically challenged person, urged the government to give preference to those living with disabilities during the sharing.
He argued that unemployed people living with disabilities were the worst affected by the lockdown; appealing to government to give special considerations to them.
“I heard that various committees had been inaugurated preparatory to the commencement of the distribution.
“But it is very unfortunate that those living with disabilities were not included in the committees.
“The process should not be politicised or hijacked by strong and powerful politicians in the various communities,” he said.
Mr Ben Onwe, a teacher, also appealed to members of the distribution committees to be guided by good conscience and eschew temptations that would make them compromise.
“Our problem in Nigeria is our politicians who will stop at nothing to satisfy their selfish interests at any slightest opportunity and this exercise may not be an exception.
“Ebonyi people have eagerly waited for this opportunity; I appeal that our politicians should allow the process to work so as to ensure that the ordinary people benefit from the palliative items,” Onwe said.
NAN reports that Mr Francis Nwifuru, Speaker, Ebonyi House of Assembly, recently said that the state had concluded to start the distributing the palliative items to the residents of the state to cushion the effects of the lockdown.
According to him, the governor has made provisions for food items and condiments that will be distributed to everyone in the state, irrespective of social and economic status.
He said that no fewer than 200 persons in each polling unit across the 1,785 polling units in the state would benefit from the relief materials; comprising of food stuffs and condiments.
Nwifuru, who is also Ebonyi COVID-19 Sub-Committee chairman on Welfare and Fund Raising, assured the residents of the state that they would all benefit from the items.
“We have set up committees, comprising representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the smooth distribution of the palliative items from both the Federal and the state governments,” he said.