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Palliative: Obaseki launches ‘Feed the Hungry’ initiative, commits over N1bn monthly

7 Mar 2024

L-R: Archbishop of the Benin Diocese of Catholic Church Bishop Augustine Obiora Akubueze; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and Chauirman, Edo State Christian Association of Nigeria, Irekpono Omoike, at the flag-off of “Feed the Hungry” initiative, with Christian leaders, in Benin City, Friday, March 8, 2024. Christian, Muslim communities in Edo

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Friday, flagged off the “Feed the Hungry” initiative, committing over N1 billion monthly to feed poor and vulnerable residents of the State amid the hardship and suffering occasioned by the dire economic challenges.

The governor met with Christian and Muslim leaders in the State respectively, to flag off the programme which is to be managed by the religious bodies across the State’s 18 local government councils.

Launching the palliative programme at the Benin Catholic Archdiocesan Chancery Building at St. Paul Catholic Church, Benin City, said the government will commit over N1bn monthly for the pilot phase of the programme.


According to him, “You know my position about what is going on in Nigeria and you know how we raised the alarm about the situation we have found ourselves in. It didn't stop us from getting to where we are today. We should not just lament and complain about the situation.

“As a government, we must think of how to respond and deal with the situation we find ourselves in. Instead of lamenting, we rather came to meet with the Christian body to see how to address the challenges facing our people and citizens.

“The government and the Christian leaders met on the 10th of February, 2024, on how to address these issues. A Committee was set up by the Christian body and it has worked diligently in the last three weeks and came up with a programme of action.”

On why the Church is championing the programme, Obaseki said, “As the governor of Edo State, when citizens are in distress and need help, very few of them can reach me in Government House but many do walk across to meet you the men of God to intercede for them and help them overcome their challenges and difficulties.”

He continued: “This initiative is purely driven by CAN and the Church. Our responsibility, as a government, is to make the resources available and help monitor the process and ensure our goals are met.

“For the pilot phase, we are making available a billion naira monthly and placing it in a dedicated account from which this programme will be operated.

“We believe that working with God, just like Christ multiplied five fishes and bread, this amount will be multiplied and used to reach the indigents, poor and hungry citizens of Edo State. We expect that many members of various congregations in the State will also assist and support this initiative.”

Charging on effective management of the programme to achieve its expected goal, Obaseki reiterated the need for the food items to be purchased from local communities to boost economic activities.

He stated, “This is the first phase of the intervention and we must go beyond giving people fish but teach them how to fish. Working with my team, I am going to use the structure you have put in place to try and reach out to many of our people to let them know the kind of economic opportunities that we as government have for them and want to roll out, particularly in agriculture.”

The governor said his government will partner with the Edo CAN and other organizations to support Christian farmers to enhance food production and ensure food sufficiency.

He added, “It’s my singular pleasure to formally launch the ‘Feed the Hungry’ initiative in Edo State. We would have periodic reviews to see how the programme is going and correct any shortcomings.”

Obaseki also met with the league of Imams in Edo State, led by Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque, Alhaji Fatai Enabulele, where he solicited their support in ensuring that the initiative succeeds.

He said, “We have met with the Christians and are here to meet with the Muslims. We have decided to work with you because the government can't feed everybody but the government can show examples.

“Let’s put money through you to buy food and distribute it to people in the Mosques when they come to prayers. We have worked out things as we will not buy it here in Benin and give it to people at Igarra but rather buy at the various locations where it will be distributed to the people.

“We are very concerned about what is going on and will collaborate with you to feed our people. You will organize the people and the programme to enable them to feed.”

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