Following the increase in suspected cases of Coronavirus, the Edo state government issued a ‘stay at home’ directive, in line with the Quarantine Regulations according to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act.
The Act entitled; Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations 2020 gives legal backing to the state government to impose a partial lockdown, as part of measures to contain the virus spread.
The government thereafter introduced ‘palliatives’ in the inform of food items, to be distributed to widows, returnees, elderly, prison inmates and other ‘vulnerable’ persons across the three senatorial districts.
However, there has been uproar across by would-be beneficiaries, over what they described as poor handling of the distribution exercise.
They accused politicians from their area of diverting the food items for their personal use.
According to our correspondent, some families received 3-Small packs of noodles, 2 cups of rice as well as beans, while others got nothing.
Umagbai-Ward at Ikhueniro, in Uhunmwode Local Government Area, the people rejected the coronavirus reliefs sent to the community.
Also at Obayantor in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, the people refused to accept a carton of noodles sent to their community as a coronavirus palliative.
Mr. Edomwonyi, Obayantor community leader who decried the development, lamented that “the things they are sharing are like a joke. What am I going to do with one indomie? Instead of bringing it to us, why not take it to orphanage home”.
In Egor Obayantor community (Ward 2), this newspaper learned that politicians in the area diverted bags of rice, beans, noodles, Garri, and other items contained in the relief packages to a private residence at Nightingale Area of Upper Erhunmwuse, a location not designated for the distribution of the items.
“The designated centers for sharing the items are Ikpea Village, Okhokho-Ugbo Village, Evbo-Ogida community, and Oronmiyan community”, one resident in the area told our correspondent.
Some rural dwellers in Orhionmwon, Ovia-Northeast, Etsako-West, and Oredo LGAs questioned the rationale behind the sharing formula, maintaining they have not received any relief package.
“We be poor people too. We don wait tire but nothing don reach our side”, one resident at Ogan community said in pigin English.
They, however, called for the inclusion of non-governmental organizations and civil society groups, as the state plans to commence second batch distribution of reliefs materials.
“Make dem (government) investigate the people wen dey go share am, because we no see wetin dem dey do.
“dem need to involve neutral people for the sharing.. .if dem continue like this.. , politicians go share am give their people finish”, a commercial motorcyclist stressed, at Jattu community, in Etsako-West.
Tracka, and civil right groups monitoring the distribution of the palliatives have earlier drew the Edo government’s attention to the development.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obaseki, the Edo State Governor on Sunday in a broadcast announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew effective from Monday prohibiting the movement of people throughout the state from 7 pm to 6 am, as part of measures to halt the virus spread.
“This order will be reviewed after 10 days when we have increased our screening and testing of our citizens. The security agencies, by this directive, are mandated to enforce total compliance by ensuring that movement is restricted at night across the State”, Obaseki said.
The state government had earlier said its decision to impose the partial lockdown in the state was the best option, adding a total lockdown has proven not to be effective in containing spread.