About 279 trucks of grains have been distributed to Lagos, Ogun and FCT, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said on Tuesday.
These are states affected by the lockdown order of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The federal government had approved the release of 70,000 metric tonnes of grains for distribution to the poor and vulnerable to cushion the impact of the lockdown order in these states.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, earlier said about 6,800 of the 70,000 metric tons of grains will be distributed in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, while the rest will be distributed to the 13 frontline states that have recorded cases of the COVID-19.
Ms Farouq while responding to questions at the daily Presidential TaskForce briefing on COVID-19, said some of the grains have been distributed and plans are underway for the next deployment to frontline states.
“So far, we have deployed 279 trucks of grains to the three affected states locked down by the federal government and we are making plans for the next deployment to other frontline states,” she said.
She said the agency is yet to get the (full) 70,000 metric tonnes “because the grains are enormous and we lack space to keep them”.
“70,000 grains were approved by Mr President that it should be given to the PTF through the ministry and to be distributed to the three affected lockdown states by the federal government and then to other frontline states.
“We have not taken all the 70,000 metric tonnes of grains. So, we still have some grains in the silos because metric tonnes is quite a huge number. 2000 metric tonnes alone will require nothing less than 80 trucks to deploy, so it is quite a huge number and there is nowhere we can put these grains.
”We have to leave them in the silos and deploy as the need arises,” she said.
Ms Farouq said the government is using Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) to identify vulnerable people who are meant to benefit from the distribution of palliatives in the society.
This, she said will hasten the process and ensure transparency and accountability.
”We are using other models because as I mentioned on this platform, we want to focus on digitalising this process.
“So we are using the BVN to the bank accounts as well as mobile phone networks to identify these poor and vulnerable people in the society,” she said.
She also noted that the food distributed to some beneficiaries will last them for two months.
“The federal government’s palliative is for a minimum of two months for the food relief and the cash transfer.
“I think we have been able to adequately cater for these vulnerable groups by giving them the two months package,” she said.
The minister, while reacting to a viral video of a lady who claimed two members of her household benefitted from the Conditional Cash Transfer disbursed to beneficiaries in various states said “It is impossible”.
“I think this is near impossible because the process involved is a very tedious one as it involves all critical stakeholders in the community.
“The community leaders, leaders of faith-based organisations, youth leaders, women leaders, and others are involved in drawing up the list of the poor and vulnerable households in that community.
“The groups submit a list individually and if you go through the list and discover that a name that is not on a particular group’s list is on other people’s list, it disqualifies such a person.
“So, it is almost impossible for the same member of a household to get this intervention but we will go back and investigate very well,” she said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...