The Kwara State Government has denied reports that it excluded civil society organizations in the distribution of the palliative materials eventually looted at some warehouses in the state.
Responding to questions Monday on RoyalFM flagship programme, News Rendesvouz, the state Commissioner for Communications, Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin, explained that the items donated to the state by Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) were being handled by the body and not the state.
She explained that CACOVID as a body of donors has a template of distribution already and was only being supported by some state officials as required. She also added that palliative items belonging to the state had already been shared with the full participation of the CSOs.
While describing the looting spree as unfortunate, the Commissioner said the items were already being shared to local government areas before rampaging crowd stormed the warehouses and looted the items.
On the state government’s plan to rescue the busineses of private investors that were also affected, Afolabi-Oshatimehin said the state Governor, AbdulRahman Abdulrasaq will meet with those affected while machinery is already being put in place to ensure speedy disbursement of the N500million fund to assist owners of looted businesses.
CACOVID Foundation says govt did ‘excellently well’
· Distribution ongoing until hoodlums struck
Claims that the Kwara State Government diverted or hoarded the palliatives meant for the vulnerable households in the state are false and unsubstantiated as no less than 15 of the 16 local governments had benefited before the store was looted, the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 Foundation said on Monday.
The palliatives, which were majorly foodstuffs, were donated across the country including Kwara State by the CACOVID Foundation as part of its support for the Nigerian governments to cushion the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq flagged off the official distribution of the palliatives on August 11, 2020 following the handover of the goods by the private sector-led body.
Speaking on a live programme on Midland FM in Ilorin, CACOVID representative in Kwara State Taoheed Adewale Fasasi said: “In terms of distribution of the palliatives, it’s been an excellent performance for Kwara State especially in terms of three key things. One, identification of the beneficiaries. We’ve always feared that this could be where there will be problem because we don’t want it to get to the wrong hands. But they (state government) have been able to come up with lists that come directly from the grassroots. And, with this, we know how many families that were given. We have recordings of how many families that were given.
“We were in Jebba (Moro, Kwara North), for instance, and it was not just about distribution, we saw the families. We know where they are and what they do and things like that. The distribution was not hidden. It was more or less like CACOVID handing over to the beneficiaries. The assistance from the (state) committee has been wonderful.”
Fasasi said the monitoring and evaluation team of CACOVID was on the field to ensure that the palliatives got to the right persons across the state, asserting that its reports do not support the claims that the government hoarded the palliatives.
“It is not just about handing over to the state but ensuring that it gets to where it is supposed to get to. We always have a monitoring team. Apart from being a member, I have a monitoring team that’s also checking me at every point in time. It is CACOVID’s way of doing things. As the state committee was getting it out, we were interacting with the beneficiaries. We have the videos. We went there based on those identified,” he added.
Architect Kale Belgore, Counsellor to Kwara State Governor and State Government Focal Person on the palliatives, explained that beneficiaries across least 15 of the 16 local governments have collected as at Friday October 23rd when the hoodlums attacked the Cargo Terminal where the palliatives were warehoused.
He added: “We were loading the one for Offa (the 16th and last local government to get theirs) on Friday when the hoodlums attacked the place. In fact, some trucks containing palliatives had left for Offa. So, the hoodlums vandalised the trucks and made away with the remaining palliatives for Offa and what was to be distributed for some umbrella bodies of some physically challenged people, the blind colony, orphanages, and correctional centres, among others.”
The state government meanwhile has said the palliatives that the Federal Government handed to it on October 13 were meant for victims of the recent rainstorm and flood in at least eight local government areas of the state.
The government said the distribution, which was being done by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), had been carried out in Asa, Ilorin South, Ilorin East, and parts of Ilorin West before the hoodlums looted the warehouse in Ilorin.
The remaining palliatives that were looted were meant for the victims in Edu, Moro, Patigi and Ifelodun local governments, according to the government, insisting that no palliatives were diverted or hoarded.