By Mbah Okemsinachi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri has approved the sum of N60 million for the procurement of equipment for the setting up of the state owned laboratory and testing centre for viral infections apart from the Coronavirus disease.
The centre which will be established at the Bayelsa Medical University will be inspected and certified by the officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) when ready.
Senator Douye Diri disclosed this on Monday, during the flag-off of another round of distribution of the COVID-19 relief items which was witnessed by legislators from the state and national assemblies, local government chairmen and some stakeholders at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
A press release by the governor’s acting chief press secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as having directed the eight council chairmen and their councilors to demonstrate integrity in the distribution of the foodstuff and ensure that it cuts across political party lines.
The governor enumerated food items procured by his administration to include 6,000 bags of beans, 6,070 bags of garri, 10,750 cartons of noodles and 185 packs of bottled water.
Others are 175 cartons of tin tomato, 700 cartons of soft drinks, 35 gallons of palm oil, 68 bags of salt, 69 bags of sugar, 38 cartons of seasoning and 70 gallons of vegetable oil.
Senator Diri, who equally highlighted items donated by corporate organizations, expressed gratitude for their gesture and enjoined others to follow suit.
According to him, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board donated to the state government, 75 bags of beans, 300 bags of rice, 70 bags of garri, two ambulance vehicles and other pharmaceutical items.
He said 7Up Bottling Company also donated 2,004 packs of bottled water, 8,400 cartons of soft drinks while Mee & Kay Ltd gave 100 cartons of instant noodles.
The state government, he noted, also took delivery of 350 bags of rice and 300 bags of garri from Ecobank Plc while Crunchies, a fast food outfit in Yenagoa, donated 50 cartons of noodles.
Other items donated include 300 bags of rice from the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, Sterling Bank N100milliion, Niger Delta Development Commission N100million while the Nigerian Agip Oil Company promised that in partnership with the NNPC, it would build a South-South health centre for the fight against COVID-19 and other viral diseases in the state.
Senator Diri also called on the coordinators to ensure that the foodstuff get to the less privileged and vulnerable people in the state.
He said, “As you go to your various local government areas to distribute these relief materials, make sure that there is no distinction between PDP and APC. The COVID-19 pandemic does not know who is PDP or APC. The underlying issue is that they are all Bayelsans. The relief materials should get to all who need them, particularly the downtrodden, because this government is poised to carry everyone along.
“I urge you to ensure that the distribution of these items is successful and done peacefully. Having experienced the first distribution of garri in the state, this time around, we are following it up with enough security.
“So, we have invited more personalities and leaders to be part of the distribution process. The security will follow these items to their various local government headquarters. We have also invited other leaders to be involved in the distribution of items to their wards and communities.”
Other beneficiaries of the items include the physically challenged persons, internally displaced persons, youth corps members, Bakassi returnees, motherless babies home and non-indigenes.