Senator Umeh distributes palliatives to constituents

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… To relaunch scholarship scheme for constituents with 200 students

The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, Distinguished Senator Victor Umeh, has distributed 124 metric tons of rice to his constituents, promising to bring back the scholarship scheme for university students in his constituency with no fewer than 200 beneficiaries as from March this year.

The distribution of the rice which took place at St Andrew’s Catholic Church Podium, Adazi-Nnukwu, in Anaocha, Anambra State, was made to benefit thousands of persons cutting across all the wards in the seven Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the Senatorial District.

Addressing the representatives of the LGAs and wards at the distribution venue, Senator Umeh, who is the Chairman of Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisations, disclosed that the rice palliatives were Federal Government (FG) funded emergency food items for federal legislators, meant to be shared to members of their constituency during the Christmas celebration.

He said the contract came late which was why the supply was not made in December at Christmas and the contractors were expected to use their money to execute and thereafter make claims for payment from the government as no one was given a penny for the project.

Umeh, elected on the platform of Labour Party (LP), used the event to once again express profound gratitude to his constituents for considering him worthy to serve them in the Senate as demonstrated by his overwhelming victory at the polls in the 2023 General Election.

He reiterated his resolve to continue to offer his people pragmatic leadership and effective representation in the 10th Senate, ensuring that whatever that is due to Anambra Central from the federal level gets to them intact.

Noting that the palliatives were not only for LP members, but for the less privileged in the constituency, the Ohamadike Ndigbo debunked insinuations making the rounds that he was given cash of N200m or N450m for the palliatives.

His words: “I was not given Shishi by anybody for this and no Senator was given any such money by the Federal Government.

“This is a Federal Government palliatives programme – the emergency supply of food items during the Christmas but the contract came late. The contract for this supply was given to the contractor on the 18th of December, close to Christmas and so it wasn’t possible for it to be delivered within the season.

“The condition is that if you (contractors) are able to supply, you come and put your claim forward and the government will pay you. So it is very difficult to execute. We are lucky, the contractor in charge of Anambra Central Senatorial District palliatives is serious and has the money to produce this rice. The Federal Government awarded the contract through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, but no money was paid to the contractors. That is why you are not seeing much of this everywhere because no money was provided.”

According to Umeh, “The contract is for 124 metric tons of rice to each senatorial district in Nigeria, amounting to 124,000 kilogrammes of rice. So, today, under this palliatives programme, we have here in accordance with the contract which the Federal Ministry of Agriculture awarded to the contractor, 124, 000 kilogrammes of rice. However, what we have here on ground is 129,000 kilogrammes of rice; so we surpassed by 5,000 kilogrammes according to the contract.”

The senator said he made sure that all the rice distributed to his constituents in the district were produced in Anambra State to empower the local producers and boost the state’s economy.

Umeh revealed that he on his own distributed bags of rice and cash to his constituents during the Christmas period, realizing the extent of hardship in the country without having to wait for the FG funded palliatives to arrive.

“Despise that, last Christmas I shared a lot of rice to various groups and individuals because I know that there is hardship. I shared 626 bags of 50kg rice and about 600 bags of 25kg rice and marched it with some cash support to the people of Anambra Central as my own palliatives and as a Senator I spent over 40 million naira in that exercise,” the Anambra Central Senator added.

Announcing that the 76 indigent students he sponsored for university education in 2018, during his short period of 17 months in the 8th Senate, are now graduates, Umeh vowed to relaunch the scholarship scheme for his constituents in March 2024, of which not less than 200 students will benefit from.

A representative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security who was on the ground to monitor the rice distribution, Engr. Samuel Ekwolo, was said to have confirmed the statement of Umeh that no money was released to anyone for the supply of the palliatives and applauded the senator for his sincerity, honesty and transparency in the execution of the project.

Maintaining that the execution of the project was in full compliance with FG’s directive, he noted that the people of Anambra Central were fortunate to have a man like Umeh as their Senator.

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