The Nigerian Navy (NN) at the weekend gave succor to about 1,000 vulnerable families in Lagos and Ogun states to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation which was part of activities to celebrate the service’s 64th anniversary featured the gifting of items such as foodstuff and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to residents of slum and riverine communities like Ajegunle, Imoore, Apapa in Lagos and Tongeji Island, Ogun State.
The Nation reports that though the NN plans a low key commemoration of its June 1 anniversary, the service made it a duty to reach out to vulnerable households across its operational commands, bases, and formations across the country.
For Lagos and Ogun states which are under the Western Naval Command (WNC), the palliatives targeted 340 households in Ajegunle, 350 at Moore, and over 300 at Apapa and Tongeji Island who received bags of rice, beans, noodles, vegetable oil, masks, and shields.
Handing over the relief items for Ajegunle vulnerable families to the traditional ruler of Alayabiagba, Baale
Yaya Ojora, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, said the navy recognizes and appreciates the partnership it has enjoyed with its host communities over the years.
Ibas who was represented by the Chief Staff Officer (CSO), WNC, Rear Admiral Murtala Bashir said the choice of palliatives this time around and not the usual medical outreach was borne out of current hardships people across the world were experiencing as a result of COVID-19.
He said: “The Nigerian Navy as a responsive organization that takes into recognition the partnership with host communities in carrying out our activities, considers it a role to impact on their lives because they also have a responsibility to assist us in our operation.
“We see this as a responsibility for us to always reach out to communities. In this particular case, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to reach out to the vulnerable in the community by way of supporting them. These palliatives are being distributed concurrently, in host communities around the Eastern and Central Naval Commands as well as other units of the Navy, across the country.”
He urged the residents to take personal and environmental hygiene seriously, as well as adhere to all safety standards put in place by the government to curb further spread of the virus.
In his remarks, Baale Ojora assured the items would be given to the targeted population through the Community Development Associations (CDAs), trade, and religious leaders.
Secretary to Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Council Development Area (LCDA) Remi Bela who was at the event described the navy’s gesture as a practical definition of good military/civilian relationship.
She expressed optimism that the items would reach the targeted individuals since it would be distributed by the traditional ruler who knew those concerned and where they live.
At Tongeji Island, the monarch, Oba Biolorunkosi Okiki Sule I received palliatives on behalf of his subjects and thanked the navy for always reaching out to them.
“May the Almighty God richly bless the Nigerian Navy, its leadership, and men for being there for us at this difficult period. It will greatly help us,” he said.