Humanitarian Minister tackles State Governments over shoddy distribution of CIVID-19 palliatives
The minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has blamed State Governments for the shoddy distribution of the COVID-19 palliatives.
She expressed regrets for ever using States for the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives.
Speaking on Thursdsy at an investigative hearing organised by the Senate committee on Special Duties, she said she has not recieved any report from the state governors on how they distributed the food items.
“This has made us to have a rethink and restrategise to see how we can engage other bodies especially the NGOs in subsequent interventions by the ministry.”
It would be recalled that some of the palkiatives given to states were stockpiled in warehouses with many wasting away until the #ENDSARS protest uncovered them. The palliatives were later looted as youths went on rampage, broke into the ware houses and carted away most of the commodities.
Continuing the minister said,
“We handed over grains as directed to the state governments and when we handed over we told them what the intervention is meant for and who it is meant.
“Unfortunately the EndSARS came with some revelations, some warehouses were vandalised we got to know that some of those warehouses existed.”
She said the ministry was allocated the sum of N551462 for covid-19 intervention in 2020 appropriation which she said has been sum has been utilised for various interventions.
“In addition, the sum of N2 billion 457 million 500k was released to the ministry in respect of the covid19 rapid response and this is part of the allocation of N32,457, 000, 0000 allocated from which N30 billion is yet to be released.
“This sum is meant for the payment of N5,000 each to 1 million vulnerable urban and fairly individuals for 6 months.
“On the modified national home grown school feeding programme, in an effort to ensure and achieve response during covid-19 pandemic, the ministry experimented the modified school feeding programme whereby food was tailored to be provided to households with children of benefiting schools.”
She said the experiment was conducted in FCT, Lagos and Edo.
The Senate Commitee on Special Duties, took up the Minister over spendings of the N32.4billion allocated to her office for palliatives provisions against COVID – 19 pandemic .
The Committee drilled the Minister on how the fund was spent during an interactive session on Thursday.
Senator Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South) who said the Ministry was not doing enough tackled the Minister asking how she thinks Nigerians are not feeling the impact of alleged interventions made by the Ministry in the heat of the COVID- 19 Pandemic.
” You are not doing enough as far as poverty eradication in the country is concerned.
” The modus operandi being adopted by your Ministry cannot in anyway help in fixing the country .
“Humanitarian intervention should be looked at more holistically “, he said .
Also lampooning the Ministry on its modus operandi, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Biobarakuma Degi Eremionyo ( APC Bayelsa ) said the handouts being doled out to some Nigerians as palliatives by the Ministry, cannot in anyway, take them out of poverty line .
“Giving unemployed people N10,000 or even N20, 000 for a month or two, cannot help them out of the poverty related problems facing them .
“The handouts should be channelled into creation of employment for the unemployed ” , he said .
As a face saving measure for the Minister , the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf ( APC Taraba Central), quickly intervened by telling the members that the interactive session was not on poverty eradication by the Ministry but interventions made by it as palliatives against COVID – 19 from the 32.4billion earmarked for it out of the N500billion appropriated by the National Assembly last year .
Don’t pay lip service to resolution, South-South Study Group (3SG), urges Southern Governors
** demands for a referendum
The South-South Study Group, (3SG) has charged the Southern States Governors not to pay lip service to their resolution but ensure that it does not stop with the communique but backed with action to lift the lot of their people from the present servitude and disadvantages that they have been subjected to.
They therefore called for a national referendum to give political action to their resolution on restructuring and their common position against open grazing among others.
The group challenged the Governors not to allow themselves to be weighed down by politics of their party affiliations as they commended them for the far reaching resolution.
The 3SG, which is a network of some of the South-South’s leading professionals in the public and private arena, gave the indication in a statement they issued on Sunday.
The statement which was signed for the group by Otoks Dan Princewill further challenged the Southern governors against shying away from articulating the desires of their people in the competive environment between the large majority of progressively minded Nigerians and the few persons determined to foster regression.
Endorsing the intervention of the Southern governors, 3SG said:
“The timely intervention by the Southern Governors presents a watershed moment as the nation becomes a contested arena between the progressive will of the people and the regressive whims and caprices of a few.
“It is for this reason that the commendable display of astutely effective diplomatic effort by the Southern Governors across party lines emphasizes the urgency and need for relief as demanded by Southerners of all affiliation.
“On this note, the Southern Governors must realise that now more than ever, regardless of party affiliation, the citizens of Southern Nigeria look up to this collective body of Southern Governors to protect them from rampaging marauders and bandits, to push forward their collective interests and hold many more positive Conferences also involving other Southern stakeholders in the immediate future for the sake of the rapidly deteriorating national state of affairs.
“Nigerians at home and in diaspora are waiting on edge with baited breath in expectation that this presents hope for a new beginning.”
Affirming that the resolution of the governors on restructuring was explicit, the group said:
“The Communiqué of the Southern Governors explicitly explains what Restructuring entails; review of resource control, revenue allocation formula, strict adherence to federal character principles in appointments and the shared interests of the Federating States.
“It is pertinent to acknowledge that our festering national ills have been dramatically amplified by a current approach of gross insensitivity to the diversity and the multicultural nature of Nigeria. This complete neglect of the most primary characteristic of Federalism by the current Federal Government worsened the already festering national malaise.
“The solutions to our national problems arising from diversity and multiculturalism were clearly stated only with slight differences and variations in the national conferences of 1995, 2005, and 2014. Interestingly, the ruling party in its review of the National Question reaffirmed these same solutions based on the imperative of Restructuring.”
Governance failure: Bello lashes out at southern colleagues, says they also contributed
Governor, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has lashed out at his Southern counterparts for taking on President Muhammadu Buhari as if he is the sole reason for failure in Governance at all levels admitting that the failure is across board, hence the President alone should not be held responsible.
The Governor who featured on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme, monitored in Abuja warned the southern States’ Governors to be cautious with their utterances so as not to heat up the polity.
He said, “Let me caution each and every one of us, leaders across board including governors and all of the leaders across Nigeria that we should be careful about the words we use,” Bello warned.
He said when addressing topical issues especially about security, unity and national cohesion of leaders and politicians should be careful about the words they use when they are addressing the various topical issues.
Bello said, they get it wrong when they make it look as if they are taking it on President Muhammadu Buhari, because the situation Nigeria found itself today is as a result of maladministration of successive administrations.
“There have been collective failures across board, so let’s not just blame it alone on the federal government or the President.
He also challenged the Governors to endeavor to implement financial autonomy for judiciary if they truely believe in restructuring
The Governor said instead of demanding restructuring they should first summon the courage to implement financial autonomy for the judiciary and the legislature in their various states.
It would be recalled that on Tuesday, the governors of 17 southern states in their resolutions asked President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the nation among other demands, after a meeting in Asaba, Delta state.
Speaking on the development in an interview on Channels TV on Friday, Bello noted that the president has since heeded the calls for restructuring by signing executive order 10 an order that had been suspended.
He said that governors should implement certain demands in their various states, before making such from the federal government.
“I sincerely appreciate and respect the position and the view of our brothers from the southern part of the country for calling for restructuring,” he said.
“Mr. President has heeded to the call for restructuring. He granted the autonomy for the judiciary, granted the autonomy for the legislature, and granted the autonomy for the local government by going ahead to sign all the executive orders.
“At various levels, whatever we are demanding, especially at governorship level, let us make sure we practice it at home. You are demanding for zoning, let’s make sure we practice it at home. You are demanding for equity, let’s make sure we practice it at home. You are demanding for fairness, let’s make sure we practice it at home.
Backlash as Northern group accuses Ameachi of witch-hunt over NPA MD’s suspension
A group Concerned Northern Forum (CNF) in what seems like a backlash has accused the minister of transportation Rotimi Ameachi of witchunting, blackmailing and bullying the embattled Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority Hadiza Bala Usman,.
The group who vowed to defend her to the last is accusing Ameachi of getting back at her for not allowing him unfetterred access to the purse of the authority to amass the fiinancial war chest to execute his presidential ambition for 2023.
The group alleged that her suspension was a deliberate case of witch-hunt, blackmail and bullying saying it is an affront on the integrity of the north.
They gave the indication on Friday at a press conference held at Arewa House, Kaduna where they faulted the investigative panel set up by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
The chairman of the group, Alhaji Mohammed Salihu Danlami, said they are aware of the grand design of a witch-hunt by the Minister against Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman where he has moved from one phantom offence to the other all in a desperate attempt to tarnish her image.
According to him, Amaechi had initially started with a phantom allegation of non-remittance of monies to the coffers of government, which did not gel as the managing director could not be faulted on the remittances.
Danlami added: “Having failed on that line of offence, Amaechi then moved and developed a far-fetched TOR for the panel to conduct all manners of inquiry across administrative procedures, communication channels and procurement.
“We have followed every details of this unfortunate development and wish to unequivocally state that we regard Hadiza Bala Usman’s suspension without following due process not only as an assault on women inclusiveness in governance, but also as an attack on northern Nigeria, and a well-orchestrated attempt by Amaechi to embarrass the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for rewarding the uncommon character, competence and capacity with which Hadiza Bala Usman discharged her duty to Nigeria by recently renewing her appointment as the head of NPA for another five years.”
He reiterated that at the time Hadiza Bala Usman took over the headship of the NPA in 2016, the agency was a cesspool of corruption and had become incapable of adding value to the Federal Government to the level expected of an entity that is the gateway to the Nigerian economy.
“Hadiza Bala Usman immediately set out to reposition the NPA for greater operational efficiency and revenue generation by blocking all avenues of corruption that hitherto undermined the agency. In a bid to achieve this noble objective, she unavoidably stepped on the toes of very powerful political figures with vested interests in the running of the NPA.
“Specifically, she insisted that all revenue generating operation of the NPA must fully comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government. This meant that all companies who had been operating with impunity in handling monies belonging to Nigeria were called to order, and that concession agreements skewed against national interest were reviewed.
“In no distant time, her patriotic actions yielded results with the NPA posting unprecedented remittances in billions to the coffers of the government from 2016 to date.
“We at the Concerned Northern Forum felt very proud of the giant strides of Hadiza Bala Usman especially when we read in the news how global bodies such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Association for Ports and Harbours (IAPH), amongst others, in recognition of her strides at the NPA, appointed her to head strategic aspects of their operations,” he said.
Danlami noted that the group was shocked at the embarrassing news of her suspension and investigation, adding: “Whilst we are not opposed to probity in governance, there appears to be a sinister and clandestine motive behind the setting up of Amaechi’s administrative panel of enquiry when there is a clear procedure to discipline erring chief executives of parastatals as approved by Mr. President himself in a circular dated May 2020.
“It is evident that he has set up this kangaroo panel of inquiry to do his bidding. In which world does a complainant become the judge and jury over a case?
In their curiosity they asked why
Hadiza Bala Usman, was asked to step aside in an organisation whose decision making is carried out by an executive management composed of a Managing Director and three Executive Directors?
They equally asked the minister how
she could single-handedly carry out all of the allegations for which she has been suspended?
‘Why then was she singled out for embarrassment and reputational damage? These are questions Rotimi Amaechi must answer,” he added.
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