Officials Inspect Bags of the Controversial Rice at Warehouse File Photo: Premium Times

State plans to return 1,800 bags of expired palliative rice to Federal Government

*Rice had expired as we wanted to distribute stock after paying N600,000 for delivery ─Benue State Deputy Governor/COVID-19 Action Committee Chairman

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Subsequent to its discovery that the product had expired when it began distribution of COVID-19 rice palliatives to the citizenry, the Benue State Government of Nigeria has said that the it will return the three truckloads of 1,800 bags of rice from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Report says Mr. Benson Abounu, Chairman of Benue State COVID-19 Action Committee and Deputy Governor of the state, said this while flagging off the distribution of palliatives to the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs), of the state at the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA office, in Makurdi, the state capital.

It was learnt that the Deputy Governor disclosed that earlier, the state government had sent each truck of 600 bags of rice to Otukpo, Gboko and Katsina/Ala LGAs for distribution in the three senatorial zones, but had to suspend the exercise when it discovered the rice had expired.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has distributed food items as palliatives to state government during the lockdown, Abounu stated.

He said: “We recently received from Calabar three trucks loaded with 600 bags of rice each, from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as COVID-19 palliative for distribution to the poorest of the poor in our state only to discover that the rice had expired when we wanted to distribute the stock after paying N600,000 for the delivery.

“We are not going to distribute that to our people because of the health hazard. They are there in Gboko, Katsina-Ala and Gboko so what we are flagging off today are items from the Benue state government to be distributed by the Local Government Council Chairman who will have them distributed to the poorest of the poor by committees in the respective LGAs.”

According to the State COVID-19 Action Committee Chairman, “the Benue State Government has provided thousands of cartons and bags of rice, semovita, tomatoes paste and vegetable oil for distribution.

It is being handed over to the chairmen who will work with the committees whose members are drawn from the CAN, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, NGOs, DSS, Police, Women Societies and the youths in their respective LGAs for distribution,” Abounu said.

The agency had put measures in place to ensure even distribution of the materials adding that the state government also approved N100,000 for each of the council chairmen to move the items to their respective councils.

Meanwhile, Dr. Emmanuel Shior, Executive Secretary of Benue SEMA, has hinted that the government would make arrangement to have it returned to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs in Abuja, a report in Vanguard said.

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