Sanwo-Olu: We’ve Offered Free Food to 500,000 Households in Lagos Under Eko Cares

•Says medical outreach to commence next week

Segun James

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday said he had fulfilled his promise to stand by the vulnerable amid the global economic hardship.

A statement yesterday, quoted the governor to have made the remarks before a crowd of excited community leaders, workers and other Lagosians, at the public presentation of Eko Cares, the umbrella of all the social interventions announced by the government. The event was held on the grounds of the Governor’s Office in Alausa, Ikeja.

Sanwo-Olu explained: “We have fulfilled the promises we made during the Media Chat in February – that we will not leave the vulnerable among us on their own – in health, transportation and education.

“We created 59 markets and turned them into Sunday markets. We promised that we will be selling food at 25 per cent discount. That we have kept faith with. The medical outreach will start next week at the latest to give medical attention to a lot of our citizens who may not want to go to our hospitals. Medicines will be given and counsel will be given. “You have continued to enjoy the 25 per cent fares rebate on our ferry services. On our buses and on our trains.”

The governor added: “Today we will be launching an attempt to reach 500,000 households.  All we have done is a tip of the iceberg. Now the real deal is about to start.”

The objective, according to him, was to see that food would no longer be a challenge to the poor.

He praised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s economic measures and urged citizens to play their own part.

Sanwo-Olu added: “You can see that the tides are turning. That is why we must commend the intervention of the President, who has been leading from the front.

“He has been able to pass on grains to all the 36 states. We will be distributing ours to all of you. You can also see that Mr President has not sat back to fold his arms… to let us have a free flow of the issues that started this thing, which was the currency.

“Now we have seen that there has been a rebound. We can see that the currency is now getting strengthened. Naira is becoming a currency that we are truly proud of now because it is taking its proper pride of place. Now we should ensure that all garri sellers, all beans sellers are not increasing prices just because dollar went up.

“Prices don’t have anything to do with dollar. Even diesel is coming down. We have no excuse again. We need to be our brother’s keeper.”

According to Sanwo-Olu, the food items would be distributed through religious leaders, Community Development Associations, Trade Unions and grassroots organisations. He warned that they should not be hoarded. Besides, the governor said the Sunday Market initiative would continue.

Speaking on the issue of minimum wage, Sanwo-Olu said, “The Unions are here everybody and we have all listened to ourselves and I know that by the Grace of God, very soon we will see a new minimum wage that will be approved for the federal and state government.

“And all public officers in Lagos, they know that since January we have continued to pay the wage in minimum of N35,000 over and above what they were earning before, if they are not saying it, let us say it.

“So what it means is that people that were earning a minimum N25,000 before will now be earning over N70,000. That is what they have been enjoying since January.

“So, it’s important for people to know and for us to lay these things very clearly that this government has doubled up to ensure that at this difficult time, it has not left its citizens on their own.

“And we are out here today again to assure that we are in government to make life better for you, to provide a succour that is required, security of lives and property and to be an activator so that you can leave a decent life.”

Members of the Special Dispensation Advisory Committee set up to advise the government on the initiatives were specially recognised by the Governor who asked them to stand up. They were praised for rendering their service pro bono.

Agriculture Commissioner Bisola Olusanya took the Governor on an inspection of the food items, displaying the contents of the food boxes.

In his welcome address, Commissioner for Information Gbenga Omotoso commended Sanwo-Olu for the initiatives, describing him as, “a leader who is bound by his words.”

He noted that ‘Eko Cares’ was for the vulnerable, adding that Sanwo-Olu’s administration has touched the lives of every Lagosian.

“The launch of Eko Cares is a testimony that the administration will not leave poor to their own devices,” Omotoso said.

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