NON-INDIGENES in Anambra State have criticized the decision of the State government to exclude them from benefiting from the COVID-19 palliatives being distributed by in various parts of the state to cushion the effects of the lockdown.
In Onitsha, Imo State born legal practitioner, Benedict Uchenna Igwe described the development as unfortunate.
The chairman of Shoe Manufacturers and General Dealers Association, Chief Clement Okemefuna and chairman of Ogbunike Mechanic Village, Ifedilichukwu Idoko said that they were disappointed that the palliatives and economic stimulus packages were not extended to non-indigenes in the state.
The two chairmen charged the state government to direct those in-charge of the distribution exercise to henceforth share the palliatives to indigenes and non-indigenes, as demanded by equity.
Demanding that the state government should distribute the palliatives to markets and other statutory bodies like artisans and allied tradesmen, they noted that, “all these non-indigenes duly pay their taxes the government.”
Speaking to newsmen in his office, Igwe said that he monitored the distribution of the “state government sponsored palliatives, including the first batch of 200 bags of rice given to each of the 181 communities in the state for those aged from 70 years and above and another 400 bags of rice given to the youths also in all the 181 communities.
“I discovered to that the interest of non-indigenes resident in the state were not protected by the government and benefiting communities.”
He wondered why non-indigenes are remembered during elections and payment of taxes but not during the distribution of palliatives or choose-your project initiative.
According to him, “it is not about myself, it is about others who cannot feed themselves. Will they will be left to die of hunger just because they are not indigenes of Anambra.
“Is anything wrong in government directing the communities to accommodate non-indigenes in their midst or the communities themselves including non-indigenes in the list. And why would government not map out special palliatives for non-indigenes?”
Igwe however commended the state governor, Willie Obiano for easing the lockdown because, “hunger might kill the people more than the coronavirus.”
He lamented the practice where people are not following the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and noted how, “commercial vehicles are carrying more passengers than they should and do not wear face masks.
“The corruption in the society is deep and has so affected the psyche of our security agencies that most of them are working for themselves or their masters.”