By Eseoghene Emuke
The exclusion of Delta and other oil producing states of the South-South from the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) to the vulnerable people to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown has been strongly faulted.
A Niger Delta-based social crusader, Prince Innocent Okiemute Ogbon who faulted the decision, stressed that it was a deservice for Delta to be excluded from list of benefiting states despite its huge contribution to the nation’s revenue.
Prince Ogbon in a chat with journalists on Sunday in Ughelli, Delta State, however, demanded the immediate inclusion of the state in the scheme.
He posited that many vulnerable persons especially in the rural and riverine parts of the state are dying of hunger as a result of the lockdown to contain the spread of the ravaging coronavirus in the state and other parts of the region.
The activist, who posited that Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases may continue to rise if the Federal Government fails to be proactive in combating virus, stressed that absence of comprehensive data base for the country’s citizens had made the distribution of palliatives by both Federal and state governments to fail.
“I am still in shock that Deltans didn’t benefit from the FG conditional cash transfer (CCT) to the vulnerable people. Whatever parameter the government might have used, Delta and indeed all the states of the Niger Delta region deserved to benefit.
“Our people have been lockdown for four weeks without any form of support from the federal government either through any of their palliative scheme. The hardship being caused by the pandemic is too difficult to swallow.
“I am appealing to Mr President to urgently include Delta and other states in the region into palliative programmes of the federal government”, Amb Ogbon posited.
While praising the efforts of medical workers in the country, he called for concerted efforts from all and sundry to defeat the rampaging virus where over 1000 persons had tested positive to the pandemic.