By Special Correspondent
Residents of Imo State, especially those in rural areas, are strongly kicking against the manner bags of rice, meant as palliatives are shared.
Governor Hope Uzodimma announced last week that bags of rice would be shared to all Imo indigenes, irrespective of political leaning or persuasion, as part of collaborative efforts between the Federal and State governments to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.
However, this 247, observed that the sharing of the rice in some areas “amounts to nothing,” as rather than bags of rice to be shared, only a painter, which is about 18 or 19 cups of rice, are doled out.
A 76-year-old widow in Ideato North LGA who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondent how he received only a handful of rice after waiting for several hours.
Others who spoke said they had expected that one big bag of 50 kg of rice would be given to them or that “at least two people could share a bag.”
“The coordinators told us that each household would go home with one painter of rice, which is not what we expected.
Mr. Augustine Ugwuanya, a retired public servant, said the governor meant well by releasing the rice for distribution but frowned at how it is being distributed.
“This is an insult to our intelligence. What is the meaning of this? A painter of rice for one family, and in some cases, we were told to share. This is unacceptable.
In Owerri Municipality, our reporter gathered that residents were told to come to collect palliatives with their voter card.
“My uncle told me that he was told to come and collect rice, but he should not fail to come with his voter’s card.
“Is that what palliative care is all about?” said Mr Christian Ugwudi, a resident in the area.
There was no independent verification of these claims, as efforts made by this newspaper to ascertain the authenticity of the allegations from officials of the state government were futile.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party Campaign Council, in a statement in Owerri, alleged that the people of the state were told to present their voter cards before they collect the palliatives.
The party accused the state government “of releasing palliatives to sole administrators, commissioners, special advisers, and other appointees of the government with a stern directive to distribute same to only those with permanent voter cards (PVC), who should be APC members.”
“What this means is that Imo citizens who are members of other political parties like the Labour Party, APGA, SDP, NNPP, PDP, and others cannot partake, a statement signed by the spokesman of the party, Mr. Ikenna Onuoha, alleged.