Lockdown : Residents Lament Politicisation of Palliatives in Kwara

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Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq

By Hammed Shittu

Some residents of Kwara State have lamented alleged politicisation in the distribution of Covid-19 palliatives in the state.

The people alleged that some members of the ruling party, APC that are loyal to the state governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, had been benefiting more from the distribution of palliatives.

The state’s Covid-19 technical committee had put in place a subcommittee to handle the palliatives to cushion the effect of the stay-at-home order and total lockdown of the state.

Among palliatives earmarked for distribution to the residents of the state are 19,400 bags (10kg) of rice; 19,400 bags of semovita (5kg); 1,940 packs of spaghetti; 9700 packs of salt; 4,850 packs of sugar; and 38,800 bottles (1 litre) of vegetables oil.

The committee also listed some categories of vulnerable people that would benefit from the palliatives which it said include the aged, physically challenged, women, widows and widowers who are sole bread winners of their families, artisans who are dependent on daily earnings among others.

Reacting to the issue, the state governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, claimed that the issue was the handiwork of oppositions parties in the state.

He said the technical committee on the covid-19 had been living up to expectations in the distribution of the palliatives to residents, urging those behind the issue to have a change of mind as this is not the time to play politics with the lives of the people.

However, THISDAY investigations from 16 local government councils of the state revealed that political consideration had been a subject of discussion among those that have been benefiting from the palliatives.

Sources close to some of the residents told journalists in Ilorin on Monday that the compilation of list of names of beneficiaries were allegedly given to the leaders of APC in the 193 wards across the state to do.

Sources added that these leaders were said to have also put in place a special consideration for those that were said to be loyal to the state governor before such name can be approved for palliatives.

The development according to THISDAY checks was said to have caused a lot of crisis in some wards of some local government councils of the state.

Apart from this, some residents have complained about the quantity of the items being given to them as the sharing formular being used was nothing to write home about.

But some of the residents who spoke with journalists on condition of anonymity on the distribution of the palliatives, Monday, expressed dissatisfaction with the way and manner the distribution was being conducted in the state.

They said “the palliative materials that suppose to be for those earmarked for distribution is being turned into political patronage at this odd hours of the state when many of us have been ordered to stay at home over the pandemic disease that is currently ravaging the world”.

They added, , “our names were excluded because we do not belong to some of the support groups of the present administration in the state”.

Reacting to the issue, Governor Abdulrasaq said that the issue was the handiwork of opposition parties in the state.

He said the technical committee on Covid-19 had been living up to expectations in the discharge of the distribution of the palliatives to the residents.

While advising opposition parties to have a change of mind on the issue, Governor Abdulrasaq however said p, “the state will require N6billion to distribute palliatives to the people of the state and we are just managing the scarce resources to rise up to the current situation on stay-at-home order.”