Governors insist no hoarding of palliatives as CACOVID clarifies delay in distribution of COVID-19 items

*Nigeria Governors’ Forum wishes to state categorically that no state has been involved in or has hoarded any palliatives

*The very large size of the order, and production cycle required to meet the demand caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence, the resultant delay in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governors ─CACOVID

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As accusations and counter-allegations over the propriety or otherwise of storing palliative items meant to assuage the sufferings of vulnerable Nigerians during the Coronavirus pandemic continue, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has denied widespread allegations that state governments must have hoarded COVID-19 palliatives originally dedicated for distribution to needy consumers.

Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, NGF’s Spokesperson Monday, October 26 in a statement said the governors had held several meetings since the #EndSARS protests erupted, and started to address concerns of members of the public, while acknowledging the calls for justice and an end to Police brutality.

The statement noted that “the NGF wishes to state categorically that no state has been involved in or has hoarded any palliatives.”

The state chief executives, however, said they regretted the loss of lives and public cum private properties occasioned by the violent protests that erupted.

According to them, it is important for “a lot of the information circulating on the social media needs to be fact-checked.

“The NGF pleads with members of the public to desist from spreading rumours which further create panic and stampede.

“For example, some of the properties stolen and vandalised, include palliatives set aside for vulnerable members of society.

Bello-Barkindo further stated: “The NGF reemphasises and corrects the impression that palliatives found in warehouses that were broken into in Lagos and some other states were kept in storage for members of the society especially our vulnerable citizens.”

The erroneous impression in the public domain that these palliatives were hoarded is inaccurate, “entirely erroneous and untrue”, the governors declared.

The Forum explained that some of the palliatives had the CACOVID stamp embossed on them, meaning that their source is unambiguous.

The statement also noted that “until mid-October, when the NGF had its last meeting, up to ten states had not participated in the flag-off ceremonies for the distribution of palliatives in their states.

“This was because the items meant for distribution in these states had not been completely received from CACOVID.”

Some of the states that still had palliatives in their warehouses chose to keep a strategic reserve ahead of a projected second wave of COVID-19, said the NGF.

According to the governors, some states in Nigeria were still receiving palliatives from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

It urged members of the public to check their facts while everyone recognises the need for improved governance, and are cautious not to push the wrong narrative.

Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Explains

Meanwhile, the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Monday as well explained why the distribution of palliatives to underprivileged families to cushion the effect of COVID-19 lockdown was delayed in the country.

ConsumerConnect reports the coalition disclosed the relief items were for 2 million “most vulnerable families” in the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country.

Nwanosiobi Osita, CACOVID Spokesman, in a statement issued in Abuja, FCT, said: “CACOVID has been working with governors, the FCT Minister, and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to procure, deliver and distribute these food relief items to almost 2 million most vulnerable families (over 10 million Nigerians) across the 774 local government areas of the country, as part of the private sector’s support to the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

However, on why it took an eternity to distribute the palliative food items to the needy as expected, the coalition said: “The sheer scale of this nationwide food programme and the timing of the orders and deliveries, which coincided with the lockdowns and reduced movement across the country, compelled CACOVID to roll out distribution in a staggered manner.

“The very large size of the order, and the production cycle required to meet the demand caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence, the resultant delay in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governors.”

The coalition, nevertheless, warned that some intended beneficiaries for palliatives would not get the relief food items due to hoodlums’ continued looting spree of the items kept in warehouses across the country.

The statement added: “By these looting incidents, it therefore, means that some intended beneficiaries have been deprived the opportunity of benefitting from CACOVID’s good intentions.

“Not every warehouse in Nigeria that contains palliatives is affiliated to the CACOVID donation, given that the states themselves, the Federal Government, and other organisations have also made donations.”

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