By Adedayo Akinwale
The Save the Poor Coalition (SPC) has faulted the allegations made by Senator Ali Ndume on the distribution of Coronavirus palliatives, insisting that distribution of cash transfer register in states was neither a fabrication nor a fraud.
Ndume had on Tuesday alleged that most of those benefitting from the palliatives did not deserve them, just as he called for the disbandment of the presidential committee responsible for the distribution.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouk, and the office of the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) had been under attack for the alleged lopsidedness in the distribution of the Coronavirus lockdown palliatives.
However, the National Coordinator and National Secretary of the group, Emeka Enechi and Adamu Maikasuwa respectively in a statement issued on Thursday said lhat the group was reliably informed that the minister had commissioned professionals to update the National Social Register she met on ground, but because of the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis she cannot throw the current register away.
The group stated: “Whereas, we are in league with the plethora of criticisms emanating from various quarters, especially that of distinguished and eminent members of the National Assembly, as per the National Social Register of Poor and Vulnerable Households and by extension the COVID 19 palliatives; however, after observing the comments and steps taken so far by the Minister, we take solace in the truism that she has noted all the salient points raised.
“We of the SPC disagreed with Senator Ndume that the distribution of cash transfer register in states was a fabrication and was full of fraud and that the ministry lacks the capacity and structure to carry out the assignment.
“The distribution of cash transfer register is neither a fabrication nor a fraud; albeit as stated earlier Hajia Farouk did not mince words in talking of challenges in addressing and making comprehensive the National Social Register.”
The group stressed that for the avoidance of doubt, the authors of the National Social Register never said they covered the 774 local government areas of the country; rather they listed what they covered as 421 local government areas, 4,347 wards, 43, 258 communities, 2.25 million poor of poorest households and 9.54 million extreme poor.