Private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on Monday explained why the distribution of palliatives to poor and vulnerable families to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was delayed.
The coalition said that the distribution of the relief items, which were for 2 million most vulnerable families in the 774 local government areas across the country, was delayed due to the magnitude of the number of food items to be distributed.
This disclosure was made by the Acting Director of Corporate Communications of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Osita Nwanisobi, on behalf of the coalition, on Monday, October 27, 2020.
The coalition said that the large scale of this nationwide food programme and the timing of the orders, which coincided with the lockdowns and limited movement across the country, delayed the procurement and distribution exercise.
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A statement by the coalition’s spokesman partly reads, “Members of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) wish to call for calm, amidst the looting of COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution in various State Government warehouses across the country.
“The Coalition is deeply concerned by the recent events and is urging those involved in the wanton destruction of public and private property to immediately desist from these raids, in order to allow the States to proceed with a peaceful and fair distribution of these palliatives to the neediest and most vulnerable in our society.
“Over the past few months, the private sector, through CACOVID has been working with governors, the FCT Minister, and the Nigerian 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 towards the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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.”
CACOVID warned that some intended beneficiaries for palliatives will not get the relief food items due to the looting of these items by hoodlums.
The coalition said it worked with all Governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to share the food items to over 10 million poor Nigerians.
It, however, pointed out that not every warehouse in Nigeria that contains palliatives is affiliated with the CACOVID donation, given that the states themselves, the Federal Government, and other organizations have also made donations.
What you should know
It can be recalled that as part of the fallout of the outbreak of violence during the #EndSARS protests, there has been widespread looting of warehouses used to temporarily store the palliative items for distribution to the poor and vulnerable, as part of measures to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. These incidents have been prevalent in different states across the country including the FCT.
Nigerians have been very critical and expressed their anger over the non-distribution of these items in the face of hunger across the country, some months after the announcement of this exercise. They accuse the politicians of allegedly keeping these items for themselves, their cronies, and possible distribution during electioneering campaigns.