5 States that survived plundering of palliatives in Nigeria

5 States that survived plundering of palliatives in Nigeria
Following the event that took place shortly after the shooting of #EndSars protesters at the Lekki toll gate, subsequently degenerating into hoodlums breaking into several warehouses across many states and looted palliatives.

Although, some states survived the plundering of palliatives.

Here are some reason why the looting of palliatives did not take place in these states.

Gombe

In Gombe State, there was no incident of palliatives’ looting at both public and private stores and warehouses.

Findings revealed the state government had since May commenced the distribution of palliatives provided by the federal government and private donors to the less privileged and vulnerable in the state.

A Special Relief and Palliatives Committee, chaired by the Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Abubakar Shehu Abubakar III, flagged-off the first phase of palliatives’ distribution where over 66, 540 households were reached across the 11 LGAs of the state.

Also, the distribution exercise was replicated in all the 11 LGAs and each benefitting household received a bag of rice and millet, a carton of pasta, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.

In the second phase, the committee distributed the palliatives to ‘Achaba’ and ‘Keke NAPEP’ associations; people with disability, religious bodies, widows, and low income earners.

Although there was no any incident of hoodlums breaking into public properties to loot, security was tightened with the heavy presence of soldiers and policemen around the government’s Central Store in the aftermath of the EndSARS violent protest to forestall anything untoward.

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Katsina

In Katsina state, Daily Trust Saturday observed that there was no record of looting of palliatives due to a number of reasons.

The first being that the state had gone far in the distribution of what was received for the state prior to the #EndSARS protests.

Recall that the flag-off of the distribution at three zones of Katsina, Daura and Funtua, where there were three zonal distribution committees set up by the state governor, Aminu Bello Masari, under the supervision of the state Deputy Governor, Yakubu.

Explaining how the distribution of palliative took place in Katsina, Speaker, Katsina State House of Assembly, Hon. Tasi’u Musa Maigari, said himself, his deputy and the chief of the staff to the governor were asked to head the zonal committees, under which local government committees were set up.

Another reason was that the youths in Katsina were said not to be in favour of the #EndSARS protests, largely due to the situation of insecurity ravaging the state.

This prompted some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the state to stage a counter protest, calling for the deployment of SARS to the state.

For that reason, the youth in Katsina could not join the bandwagon of palliative looted who engaged in looting warehouses in some states.

The Speaker of the state assembly said those accusing the state government of hoarding palliatives meant for onward distribution to the needy, were doing so out of ignorance.

“It is good to clear the air because I was privileged to know what happened. The Items that the CACovid intended to contribute are worth more than N15 billion and as such, you can’t have them all at a go, because if you are to do that, it will raise inflation in the country.

“So, the manufacturers of these items were doing it bit by bit and that is why some states are yet to collect their complete share, including Katsina, but we were able to distribute what we have collected instead of waiting for the full consignment,” he said.

In Borno while state governors were under attack for hoarding palliative, its governor was celebrated for his transparent distribution of COVID-19 palliatives in the state.

Speaking to Daily Trust Saturday, Isa Gusau, Special Adviser on Public Relations and Strategy said “Under Prof Babagana Umara Zulum, Borno has shared more than a million bags of rice and other food stuff, and has shared more than two billion naira cash in social protection and at least 500,000 textile materials amongst many other stuff, all of which are far beyond the intervention that is specific to COVID for states.

It is believed that Borno state did not witness any looting because Prof Zulum personally participates and takes full charge in the distribution of bags and cartoons of food materials, textiles and cash to beneficiaries.

“Like I once explained in an opinion, Zulum’s involvement repeatedly appears seamless and spontaneous. In the early days of his tenure, when he lifts such food item into carts, senior officials tactically made him drop them. Gradually, those government officials realized that Professor Zulum’s altruism is inherent and would not change. Many government officials have now joined Zulum’s style of getting physically involved, especially with the distribution of food aid”

However, Gusau stated that the governor did not undertake humanitarian trip to at least 3 local government areas especially those severely affected by insurgent-displacement.

Rivers

Early distribution of palliatives across the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State may have been the reason why there was no case of looting in the State.

Governor Nyesom Wike had in March 2020 inuagurated a committee to ensure equitable distribution of palliatives across the 23 LGAs of the state.

The committee, which was headed by the State Chairman of PDP, Desmond Akawor, had representatives drawn from the NUJ, civil society organizations and faith based organization.

The involvement of the above organizations according to Governor Nyesom Wike was to ensure equity and transparency in the distribution of the palliatives.

Shortly after the inauguration, the committee took off and traversed all the nook and crannies of the state where the palliatives were distributed from units to all the wards of the 23 LGAs.

Another reason why there was no looting of the palliatives was because the warehouse where the palliatives were stocked is directly opposite the 6 Division of the Nigeria Army, a situation that may have put fear on any would be looter.

Akwa Ibom

In a similar vein, no incident of looting of COVID-19 palliatives was recorded in Akwa Ibom State.

Investigations from our correspondent revealed that since the state government had no warehouse to store such items, it had to resort to using private warehouses for that purpose.

It was gathered that following the looting of warehouses in some states, a team of heavily armed security agents comprising the Army police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other security agencies have been guarding seven private warehouses located along timber market in Itiam Etoi in Uyo LGA day and night.

It was learnt that nobody was allowed anywhere close to the warehouses as the heavy security presence there was enough to scare away any intending looter or passerby.

Our correspondent, however, gathered that the heavily guarded warehouses owned by a renowned businessman was housing some palliatives.

But when the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong was contacted, he denied that the warehouses were used to keep palliatives.

He said that the warehouses were housing medical equipment purchased by the state government and about 22,500 cartons of noodles donated by an organisation.

He said the state government kept the cartons of noodles in the warehouse alongside the medical equipment pending when it would distribute them, adding that the warehouses were not housing any COVID-19 palliatives.

Kebbi

Kebbi State did not experience the looting frenzy of public and privately owned warehouses during the #EndSARS protest as it is the case in most of other states across the country.

The state recorded zero looting probably because the state government had distributed its share of COVID-19 and CACOVID palliatives.

The Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Faruk, had on September 17 flagged off the distribution of COVID-19 palliative to vulnerable persons in the state.

The Minister noted that the grains for the palliative were sourced from the National Strategic Reserve of the country adding that over 272, 301 vulnerable households will benefit from the palliative.

In the same vein, on August 6, the Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, flagged off the distribution of food relief items donated by CACOVID.

Bagudu assured justice and equity for the items which would be carried out through, the local council’s chairmen.

In Benue State, there was no record of palliatives looted from any of its warehouses by citizens as observed across many states of the federation.

Our correspondent reports that such incidents did not happen in the state mainly because the warehouses were empty before the EndSARS protests started.

Besides, the governor had thrown his weight behind the youths when he first apologized to Nigerians on October 1, 2020 on behalf of all leaders including himself whom he alleged failed citizens at all levels.

Ortom had also raised similar issues in tandem with the demands of EndSARS long before the protest started just as he had even urged the federal government not to dismiss calls for restructuring of the country, a move which endeared him to youths in the state.

But as the protest turned awry in parts of the country, certain youths whom the police tagged ‘hoodlums’ attempted to progress towards one of the SEMA warehouses around Central Bank axis in Makurdi but were repelled by security operatives drafted to strategic places in the state.

Sequel to the deployment of security to flash areas in the state, the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) had dispelled rumors making the round that it was hoarding the distribution of Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) palliatives in the state.

The agency threw open its empty warehouses as the head conducted newsmen around the facility.

SEMA’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Shior, said it became necessary to respond to the misleading information being peddled on social media regarding the distribution of CACOVID palliatives in the state.

“Some individuals have insinuated that the Benue State Government is hoarding large quantities of the palliatives. This allegation is baseless and mischievous.

“On receipt of the CACOVID food items, the Executive Governor, Samuel Ortom had directed SEMA to ensure equitable distribution of all the palliatives to the 23 local governments areas of the state, and this directive was carried out to the letter,” he stated.

Daily Trust

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