By Florence Onuegbu
The Lagos State Government says it will identify and punish anyone undermining welfare programme aimed at cushioning the effects of the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, made this known on Saturday at Lagos House, Marina, while briefing newsmen on the update of COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
According to Sanwo-Olu, when the government began this battle against the spread of the disease, it promised that the vulnerable and indigent segment of the society will not be abandoned or left behind.
He that it was in this vein, that approval of a welfare programme was given, under which 200,000 households were targeted in the first phase, for the distribution of food and other essential items.
According to him, the programme has since begun to make a positive difference in the lives of many of the intended beneficiaries.
”I must also acknowledge that there have been hitches and snags in some aspects of the implementation.
”It is not as though, we never envisaged teething problems along the way, but I must tell you that our major focus was to roll out without delay and fine-tune the modalities as we continued with programme expansion.
”What we, however, did not reckon with was the extent to which some people would go to deliberately undermine and sabotage a programme intended to bring succour to the poorest among us.
”This kind of malicious behaviour is unacceptable, and we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that all the culprits are identified and appropriately punished.
”I must assure you that we have since returned to the drawing board for a more superior strategy to ensure that this laudable programme is not compromised by the sheer irresponsibility of a few, and that the full palliative impact is realised across the state,” he said.
The COVID-19 Incident Commander said that the road ahead remained long and uncertain; but the bulk of the battle had been fought and won in the mind.
Sanwo-Olu said that it had been five days since the Federal Government ordered a restriction of movement in Lagos State as part of measures to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor said that it had not been easy, but it was abundantly clear that this was a step that had to be taken, a necessary sacrifice, to avoid far more disruptive outcomes.
He urged Lagosians to condition their minds and reinforce their psyche to take on that of a winning approach.
”By this, I mean that we must begin to picture life after this pandemic and a return to normalcy.
”We must continue to reassure ourselves that we are not weaker as a unit, but much stronger and our confidence lies in the fact that, working together, we have and will always emerge victorious,” Sanwo-Olu said.