Residents of Kpakungu community in Chanchaga Local Government Area of Niger State have criticised members of the palliative committee in charge of the area for not utilising the N20 million naira given to their ward as palliative.
Some of the people who spoke with Newsline about their plights regarding the development of palliative but did not want their names mentioned in print said that what they were given as palliative was nothing to write home about, describing the action meted out on them as unfair after waiting for two days to have their shares with high expectations.
According to the residents, the people handling the distribution were seen moving from one house to another Thursday night and Friday morning, sharing one packet of spaghetti and one packet of macaroni per household; there was no rice, no oil, no tomatoes, and no beans. The question raised was what about the truck of rice allocated to each ward apart from the N20 million in cash?
They, however, called on the state government to investigate all those in charge of the palliative committee and give an account of what they did with the N20 million allocated to their ward, Minna South, which comprises 41 polling units.
The people, while expressing their displeasure over the insincerity of the palliative committee, said the plights of the downtrodden, who were the targeted beneficiaries aimed to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal, were rather short changed from getting what they were supposed to be given while the rich got richer as they channelled the money for themselves.
They, however, blamed the state government for releasing the money meant for palliative to each ward to purchase food items by themselves and distribute.
The Assistant Public Relations Officer, APC, of Minna South Ward, Esther Gwonna, who confirmed the sharing of only one spaghetti and macaroni to a household in the area, told Newsline on Friday that what they shared with the people was what the palliative committee gave them to share.
Esther, while responding to a question from Newsline on what happened to the truck of food items allocated to each ward by the state government received from the federal government for distribution to the people in addition to the ones they were given money to buy, explained that they had not seen anything like that and said that what they were given to share with the people were the items bought from the market.
The Executive Chairman of Chanchaga Local Government Council, Hon. Aminu Ladan, a member of the committee, and all efforts to speak to him by Newsline between Thursday, the 2nd day, and Friday to get his comments proved unsuccessful as he refused to answer the calls put to him.
A Newsline correspondent who visited most of the polling units where the distribution of palliative was expected to be shared with the people, reported that none of the committee members surfaced in any of the polling units.
The Palliative Committee in charge of Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State commenced the distribution of the commodities to the beneficiary communities across the 249 units of the ten wards today, Friday.
Bosso Local Government Chairperson, Hajiya Rakiya Ladidi Bawa Bosso, disclosed this to journalists at the council secretariat while flagging off the distribution of the commodities.
She stated that the council received the sum of N100 million from the state government for the purchase of the commodities, and it was collectively agreed among the critical stakeholders in the area that the money should be used for the purchase of the needed grains.
According to the council boss, who also doubled as the secretary of the palliative committee of Bosso LGA, a total of 1000 bags of 50kg foreign rice were bought at the rate of N49,000 each, and a total of 5,229 cartons of indomie noodles were bought at the rate of N5,200 per carton, adding that a total of 2,739 cartons of spaghetti were bought at the rate of N8,700 per carton, to be distributed to the 249 units of the local government.
She explained that the 1000 bags of rice were repackaged into 5kg bags, which she stated would go around the units to be shared among the residents regardless of their political affiliations.
Hajiya Ladidi Bawa Bosso further explained that the decision to make the bulk purchase of the commodities was arrived at collectively after wide consultation with the respective councillors and other stakeholders in the local government area, assuring that the beneficiary communities would collect the items at the appropriate time.
She said the committee also makes a personal contribution of N20 million for transportation, logistics, and loading and offloading of the commodities, as well as security escorts to the respective destinations.
Speaking further, she stated that far off communities within the local government area will be given the needed priority in the distribution of the commodities before the nearby ones. She stressed that it will douse the anxiety that pervades the distribution of the palliatives.
She assured that with the level of security that will serve as escorts, the items will surely reach the designated destinations "without any fear of diverting them.
Also, the vigilante commanders of the community will be there to supervise the distribution", she added.