Governors of the 36 states of the federation under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), have denied hoarding palliatives donated by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector initiative, to ease the economic hardship imposed on the poor by the COVID-19 lockdown.
The denial came amidst continuous invasion of warehouses by some hoodlums and allegations that the governors hoarded the items to be used later for political reasons.
The CACOVID had in response to the global pandemic, contributed billions of naira to help the country fight the rampaging coronavirus which has now killed 1,130 citizens and infected 61,992 others and 57,465 lucky patients have been discharged.
The food items were delivered to state governments which held them in warehouses as it planned the logistics for their distribution.
In a statement, yesterday, signed by the head of the media and public affairs unit at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the governors denied allegations that they deliberately delayed the distribution of the items. They explained why the foodstuffs remained stored until they were looted.
The statement titled “Governors and the CACOVID Palliatives” read partly:
“A lot of the information circulating in the social media needs to be fact checked. The NGF pleads with members of the public to desist from spreading rumours which further creates panic and stampede.
“For example, some of the properties stolen and vandalized, include palliatives set aside for vulnerable members of society.
“The NGF reemphasises and corrects the impression that palliatives found in warehouses that were broken into in Lagos and some other States were kept in storage for members of the society especially our vulnerable citizens. The erroneous impression in the public domain that these palliatives were hoarded is not just inaccurate, entirely erroneous and untrue but also mischievous to say the least.
“For the avoidance of doubt, some of the palliatives had the CACOVID stamp embossed on them, meaning that their source is unambiguous.
“As we know, CACOVID operations are mainly domiciled in Lagos, being the headquarters of most of the public-spirited organisations, corporate bodies and individuals that came together to form the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
“Until mid-October, when the NGF had its last meeting, up to ten States had not participated in the flag-off ceremonies for the distribution of palliatives in their States. This was because the items meant for distribution in these states had not been completely received from CACOVID.”