Recently, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, was reportedly quoted as saying that most Nigerians, irrespective of status, got the Federal Government’s palliatives. The report, which come at a time the Federal Government’s drive to check the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, was already receiving boost, however, drew up mixed reactions among Nigerians concerning the claim by the minister.
While most Nigerians interviewed by Saturday Telegraph, claimed the minister’s utterances were far from the reality, others questioned where she got her statistics to arrive at such unfounded position. However, Saturday Telegraph went to town to sample the views of residents across the country. Excerpts:
We got 3 expired trucks of rice –Benue deputy gov
The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, under Sadiya Umar Farouq supplied three trucks of expired rice for onward distribution to people of the state as their share of palliatives from the Federal Government. Benue Sate Deputy Governor, Mr. Benson Abounu, disclosed this at the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives procured by the state government to over 10, 000 beneficiaries the government described as ‘the poorest of the poor’, at the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Makurdi.
Saturday Telegraph gathered that the three trucks of the expired rice contain a total of 1,800 bags (600 bags in each truck). He said: “We recently received from Calabar (Cross River State) three trucks loaded with 600 bags of rice each, from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as COVID-19 palliative for distribution to the poorest of the poor in our state only to discover that the rice had expired when we wanted to distribute the stock after paying N600,000 for the delivery. “We are not going to distribute that to our people because of the health hazard. They are there in Gboko, Katsina-Ala so we are only distributing items procured by the state government to the poorest of the poor.”
Publish names, Lagos residents tell minister
Residents of Lagos yesterday said they didn’t in anyway benefit from the Federal Government’s palliatives, calling on the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, to publish the names of those who received the Federal Government’s palliatives in Lagos. Residents said Lagos never got any palliatives, saying what were gottten by some residents were the palliatives distributed by the state government as promised by Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and some well-meaning Nigerians. Speaking with Saturday Telegraph, Segun Kolawole, described the palliatives as a fluke, saying nobody in his neighbourhood in Ketu got the FG’s palliatives. He said: “We only saw and heard it on radio and television that the FH was planning to give us palliative for the luckdown but as we speak, nobody has received any. I have always wondered how that disbursement or distribution of the palliative will be possible when there is no data of the residents and where they live.” Also speaking, Mrs Iyabo Lawal, a trader, also said she was not aware of any palliative of the Federal Government, adding that the, “federal must not investigate who got the palliative and criteria for choosing the beneficiaries.”
Delta residents: It’s sins against humanity
It wasattack galoreonFederalGovernment over the comment made by the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs that most Nigerians received palliatives from his office to cushion the effects of coronavirus pandemic. A retired civil servant, Pa Emmanuel Nwandiamu, in Asaba yesterday took the minister to the cleaners over the outburst. He said: “Which palliative, which Nigerians? He was engaged as a Minister for Humanitarian Affairs to do exactly this. Is it Nigerians whose salaries have been slashed in the name of COVID-19 pandemic that got the palliative? Where was it disbursed in Delta state. I think the Federal Government should spare of foolery.” A widow, who simply identified herself as Madam Chinwe, who runs a restaurant along the Jesus Saves road in Asaba, did not take it lightly. She said: “Fraud is in the DNA of most Nigerians. Did you not see how Magu (the EFCC boss) who was commissioned to catch thieves turned to something else? Farouk is equal to Magu.
FG abandoned us -Rivers residents
Residents of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, have dismissed claims by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, that they got the Federal Government palliative on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The residents alleged that throughout the lockdown period occasioned by the pandemic, they suffered alone without any form of assistance from the Federal Government as a form of palliative. For Mr. Johnson Ossai, a plumber with a family of five, he only heard about the palliative, but didn’t see anybody that benefited from it. He said: “When the Rivers declared total lockdown, that was when my family suffered most over the coronavirus pandemic. There were no jobs for me. Honestly, a little of the palliative would have helped my family.” Another resident, who simply identified himself as Mr. Ogbe Hilary, described the palliative as a scam. He said: “Top people in government used it in making money while neglecting the people it was meant for. It is totally wrong for anybody to claim that we benefited from the palliative. It’s pure deception and should be condemned.” For Ifeoma Osuji, who is a mother of two and a hair stylist at the Mile1 Flyover, she said: “There is nothing one cannot hear in this country. It is totally wrong for anyone to tell Nigerians they benefitted.”
No glimpse of response from FG -Bauchi residents
Bauchi State residents have confirmed that they are yet to receive COVID-19 Federal Government palliative meant to ease hardship during these global pandemic of COVID-19. Lukman , a 35-years-old, residing behind Federal Secretariat, Bauchi, said he is not aware that Federal Government is giving palliative to Bauchi residents.
He said: “I don’t know of any man or group of persons that have gotten the Federal Government COVID-19 palliatives in Bauchi and we don’t know even know if the committee for COVID-19 pandemic exists in the state. I don’t know the reason why Bauchi is yet to get its own share of palliative.” Also, a resident of Rafin Zurfi Bauchi, Mr. Yakubu Madaki, said the Federal Government was yet to distribute any relief materials to residents of Bauchi state in regards to COVID-19 palliative. He said: “I am in need of palliative to cushion some of the problem I have at hand now. My advice is that Federal Government should listen to the cry of Nigerian masses and support them the palliative to ease some of the accumulative problems.”
Ondo residents: Don’t include us in the list
Some residents of Ondo State have said the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, should not count them among those who were said to have received palliatives from the Federal Government. According to a resident, Niran Olotu, he did not receive any palliative to cushion the effect of the pandemic adding that none of his close associates or family member received the palliative. He said: “Honestly, what the Minister said is quite unfortunate. With her comment, I want to believe that she’s toying with the emotions and feelings of most Nigerians.” “She (minister) should be able to provide the list of those that benefitted from her imaginary palliatives per local government then I will take her serious. “As a teacher, I went through a lot after the closure of schools and someone is now saying that she gave Nigerians palliatives.” For Mrs Nike Shittu, who described the claim as laughable, said: “I was surprised when I heard that government said they gave palliatives to most Nigerians. I did not receive any thing. My colleagues and family members did not receive anything.”
‘Nothing happened in Bayelsa’
On her part, Mr Paradise Esime, said: “I didn’t collect. I didn’t see with my eyes talk more of collecting. I don’t know anybody that collected in Bayelsa. I only saw at the water side when they were carrying all these small rice and indomie. “They said it is palliative from state government. I didn’t receive any money from the Federal Government. You will only hear that something like that is going on. Before you know the thing will go to all the big men. They will just corner it.” Commenting, Ikiomeiye Robert, said: “I’m didn’t collect any palliative from the Federal Government. I don’t also know who collected. I have been away for sometime. So, I don’t know much about that.” Speaking, Blessing Ugbo, said: “I didn’t receiveanymoneyfrom anybody. Thosepeople didn’t share any money. They are theives. Don’t worry PDP will soon deal with them. In the same vein, Lovelyne Godwin, said: “There was nothing like Federal Government palliative in Bayelsa. Ididn’tseeanythinginmystreet.” Reacting, Anthonia Godwin, said: “I didn’t see any palliative both from state government from federal government.”
Mixed reactions trail palliative in Enugu
Enugu State Government confirmed that it got palliatives from the Federal Government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management. A top government functionary, who spoke to Saturday Telegraph on condition of anonymity, said the palliatives from the Federal Government were shared to the citizens of the state and groups alongside the palliatives procured by the state government. The source disclosed that the palliative were distributed to all the 17 local government areas of the state for further distribution to the political wards and communities. A resident, Mrs. Janet Agbo, who lives at Obiagu, Enugu, said she got palliatives from the state government. A journalist in the state, who didn’t want to be mentioned, also stated that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) received palliatives from the state government. However, Mr. Sam Aniegbo, told Saturday Telegraph, that he didn’t get any palliative from either quarter noting that the only palliative he got, a bag office, was from a public spirited individual. Aniegbo said: “I didn’t get any palliative from government. In fact i fell victim to scammers online who were asking people to register online for government palliative. I gave them my bank account details and my ATM serial number. Luckily I don’t have money in that bank account.”
Residents: We’re aware of palliatives but…
Some residents spoken to in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, said though they were aware that the Federal Government released palliatives to the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for distribution to the people, particularly the downtrodden, they described the claim by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouk, as bogus and far from the truth. A resident of Ilorin, Mr. Simon Adewole said though he was not among the class of people the palliatives were meant for and was not expecting any. He added: “The palliatives didn’t even cover all the low-class people that were supposed to benefit from the programme. Hence the clamour and agitation by the people for the ease of the lockdown by the Federal Government.” Hajia Ajara Suleiman said she didn’t benefit from the palliatives even though she belongs to the class it was meant for.
65-year-old grandma, residents: We need palliatives
A cross section of citizens in Plateau State said they are yet to received the Federal Government palliatives from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management. Mama Kande Joshua, a widow aged 65, told Saturday Telegraph that she wished the Federal Government could assist her with palliative. She said: “I have been struggling throughout the period of COVID-19 to look for food to feed my grandchildren, because my only son died and left me with his wife and children, I also lost my husband long time ago.”