Niger state Coordinator for the Coalition of Private Sector Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad, says donation of food items to the state to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the vulnerable people is still ongoing, hence the items cannot be distributed now.
Alhaji Muhammad said in a statement issued on Monday by Mary Noel-Berje, chief press secretary (CPS) to Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, that out of the 88 trucks of the items expected to be delivered to the state, 73 trucks have so far been received, while 15 of such trucks are being awaited.
He said the items which are to be shared as a full package to 47, 611 vulnerable households in the state in accordance with the guidelines given by the CACOVID, can only be distributed when supplies are complete as captured in the distribution guidelines presented by the donors.
“We have received items fine, but it is a continuous process and until these items are complete, no distribution will be made because in the template of CA COVID all these items will have to be put together to make a package,” the state coordinator explained.
He said only 9,000 bags of rice which is one of the major items have been received as against the 47,611 bags that are expected, hence they cannot be distributed for now.
While noting that the issue is not peculiar to Niger state alone, the coordinator maintained that he is in constant communication with the national secretariat of CACOVID for update.
He added that about six states including Benue are also yet to distribute their quota due to incomplete supply of items.
Earlier, Chairman of the State Taskforce on COVID-19, who is also the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane, restated that government is not hoarding the food items donated by CACOVID; rather it is making efforts to ensure that the guidelines given by the donors are adhered to.
He explained that the food items which started coming in about two months ago are intact, adding that the process of supply is still ongoing and beneficiaries will be identified and profiled when the items have been completely supplied.
He assured the people that in line with the zero tolerance to corruption policy of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello-led administration, the process will be transparently carried out in due course.
The palliative items supplied include cartons of noodles, spaghetti, Macaroni bags of rice and semovita as well as sugar among others.
The items are currently stored at three different locations in Minna, the state capital.