The Federal Government has revealed that it handed over COVID-19 palliatives from the nation’s reserve to state governments for onward distribution to citizens.
This was revealed by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Mustapha stated this while reacting to the mass looting of warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives were kept.
Speaking in Abuja at the COVID-19 PTF briefing on Monday, he noted that the #EndSARS protests had unfortunately been hijacked, adding that great economic costs had been inflicted on the nation.
“Of particular concern to the PTF is the issue of palliatives found and looted from various warehouses around the country.
“The Federal Government Palliatives consisted largely of the 70MT of grains released from the Strategic Grain Reserves as well as rice secured from the Nigeria Customs Service.
“The shares for each state were handed over to the state governments for onward distribution to the citizens.
“The private sector coalition (CACOVID), that has been quite supportive of the Federal Government, worked with the states through the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to determine the quantum of their intervention, which was intended to be effective and equitable. A number of indices were worked out for this purpose.”
The SGF urged Nigerians to remain law-abiding and collaborate with law enforcement agencies to restore normalcy to the nation.
“Humanity has been traumatized by COVID-19. Our nation is not experiencing a second wave but has been impacted negatively by the looting and arson.”
Meanwhile, the PTF has warned of a possible resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the large gatherings during the #EndSARS protests.
Dr. Sani Aliyu, the PTF National Coordinator, said; “Some of our warehouses do not contain food items, they contain medical equipment, test kits and valuable items extremely important when it comes to the COVID response.
“Therefore, we’re pleading with all those that are currently in the process of planning (to loot the warehouses) to desist from doing so.
“It’s important that our assets are protected, that what the country has bought for the purpose of the COVID pandemic and what our donors have provided are used for the purpose they’re meant to do. And this purpose does not include looting of the items.”
“It is important to remember, as we go into the issue of palliatives, supplies, storage and distribution, that this process is integrated and also very complex.
“But we also understand that palliatives also need to be distributed with the greatest number of urgency so that millions of struggling Nigerians can receive the economic support.
“CACOVID has been a critical partner in our response to COVID-19. They’ve supported the country in the supplies of PPEs (personal protective equipments).
“They also provided technical support in the development and launch of the Nigerian International Travel Portal, which has made it possible for passengers to come into the country and depart on international flights.
“CACOVID has also been working with state governments and the FCT and the Nigeria Governors Forum, to procure, deliver and distribute palliatives to 1.7 million Nigerians, to the most vulnerable households across Nigeria.”
Dr. Aliyu further stated that the sheer scale of the food programme by CACOVID meant that the programme had to be delivered in a staggered and controlled manner.
He noted that CACOVID worked with state governments through the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) to determine the number of households that will have these reliefs, to enable states provide clean and secure warehousing for the food items.
“Since the deliveries began with CACOVID and states government, official flagging and handover have taken place in 28 states and the FCT and these states have been distributing items in various places based on need.
“It’s also important to clarify that some of these states government have bought their own palliatives that they are distributing. Some states have received complete or near-complete deliveries of the food items allotted to them. As of today, several states have confirmed the completion of their distribution.
“It’s therefore quite concerning that we continue to see images of looting on the social media given all the work going on and the goodwill of the private sector towards supporting the COVID response,” Aliyu said
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.