Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Federal Government on Saturday flagged-off the distribution of palliatives to the elderly in Karshi, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

The relief materials consisted of food items including half bags of rice, 5kg bags garri, packets of milk, salt, packets of macaroni, 4 litres of vegetable oil, and 1 wrapper per person, for 500 beneficiaries.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the distribution of the palliatives was in response to the effect of the lockdown on the elderly as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

‘People who under normal circumstances can fend for themselves now cannot do that. Our aged population are people that deserve our care and concern and I am happy various speakers on their own have decided to give service to humanity, to this very social group,’ the minister said.

‘Today, we are here to deliver these relief materials in the six Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory.’

The minister also disclosed that members of the civil society working alongside with the ministry will deliver the rest of the items to the elderly where they reside in order not to expose them to harsh weather as well as other hardships on their way to pick the items.

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The minister assured the vulnerable population that government is doing everything possible to see that it brings succour to them through her ministry, whilst urging them to abide by government guidelines on social distancing, hygiene and staying at home to curb the spread of the plague.

Meanwhile, the President, Coalition of Societies for Older Persons in Nigeria, Senator Eze Ajoku, said that isolating the elderly is challenging for them at this period, but that the palliatives would assuage their hardship.

Ajoku made an appeal to the federal government to reduce the cost of medications for the elderly who cannot afford the price of essential medicines.