- By Bode Olushegun
Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has flagged off the distribution of palliatives to vulnerable residents, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) across of the state.
The palliatives are to cushion the effects of the lockdown imposed to contain COVID-19 spread in the state.
The governor, who commenced the flag off on Saturday at the Custom House IDP camp in Muna area, Jere local government area of the state, disclosed that large quantity of the food to be distributed at the camp was released by the Northeast Development Commission, NEDC, for which the people of Borno were grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari’s led federal government.
He said the NEDC had donated 15,000 bags of rice, 15,000 bags of sorghum and 14,000 bags of millet, with the state government providing thousands of bags in variety of food and wrappers.
At the launch, Zulum made a symbolic presentation of bags of food ,cooking oil and wrappers to 4,000 households.
In another development, the governor expressed appreciation to the people of the state for high level of compliance with the lockdown order he gave.
He said he was contemplating the relaxation of the statewide lockdown on Monday and Thursday to enable residents shop for food stuff and to reduce the hardships they werre facing under the Ramadan.
He noted that a decision would be made on the relaxation after a meeting with the high-powered response team for prevention and control of COVID-19 chaired by the Deputy Governor, Umar Kadafur.
He said he would not want to give an expressed directive since he had given the committee the mandate to handle all action regarding COVID-19.
Zulum made this known when speaking around the empty Maiduguri Monday Market after a tour of the state capital to monitor compliance of residents with the lockdown order.
The governor, who described the compliance as very impressive, said: “I want to start by registering my profound appreciation to the good people of Borno state for their high level of compliance with the lockdown order.
“I have gone round the streets quietly with you, journalists and we have seen how people have complied despite the difficulties of complying.
“Even in ordinary times, things are tough for the people of Borno due to the impacts of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“The lockdown is no doubt difficult for our people especially with the Ramadan. Insha’Allah, I will recommend to the high powered response team that they should consider relaxing the lockdown on Monday and Thursday so that people can meet their basic needs.
“We all know that many people do not have enough food to last them more than a day or two, in fact, many of them have to go out to work in order to get what they eat on daily basis, I have been through what the poor is facing, I know exactly what is there.
“I commend the high powered response team under the Deputy Governor for the wonderful job they are doing and urge them and our citizens to sustain our collective efforts.
“When the response team accept my recommendation to relax the lockdown on Monday and Thursday, we expect that there will not be a gathering of any form.
“There must be social distancing. The relaxation should be mainly for making purchases” Zulum said.