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The Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said the distribution of relief packages in the state for the month of May, would be targeted at people who recharge their phones with less than N200 airtime a month.

Mr El-Rufai, who spoke Saturday on The Platform on Channels TV, said coronavirus-impact aid for the month would be worth N2 billion.

This fund, he said, was sourced from private donors and a 50 per cent pay cut imposed on top political appointees and senior civil servants in the state.

“We have obtained data of the people in Kaduna State using their phone recharge purchase records,” he said. “So we believed that anybody that spends less than N200 per month on buying recharge cards on his phone is poor and will need this food for intervention.”

He said those who may be too poor to have phones, community and religious leaders would be engaged to identify them.

Mr El-Rufai described the distribution of palliatives in April as “abuse of trust” by persons entrusted with the distribution. He said this will change in May.

“We have (their) phone numbers. We have their addresses. We will just call you and deliver these food items to (their) houses,” he said.

“We know that this second round will be more targeted. We will get to those that are really poor from their phone records.”

Containing COVID-19

Mr El-Rufai said to contain COVID-19, his government has insured the lives of frontline health workers in the state to the tune of N5 million per person coupled with disability insurance for those that get sick and cannot walk.

The governor noted that due to fall in earnings, the state deducted N500 million from the contingency fund of its 2020 budget to cushion the effects of the pandemic on residents.

The governor also expressed worry over the poor nature of the public health infrastructure. He said in two months, the state might have completed the building of a 139-bed space permanent infectious disease hospital, with the hope to complement the already existing 16-bed space.

“We’re building infectious diseases wards in each of our general hospitals in each of the 23 local governments,” he said

“Our strategy from day one was centered around what stage we need to protect the lives of the people of Kaduna state and then we decided that we will do whatever it would take to protect the lives of the Kaduna state people.

“We would inconvenience people and apologise later, we would affect livelihood negatively but we would apologise later and try to rebuild those livelihoods,” he said.

Kaduna State accounts for 35 of the total 2,170 COVID-19 cases in Nigeria. The state has imposed daily curfew.

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