By Olawale Ajimotokan
The federal government yesterday clarified that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19’s warehouses stocking COVID-19 items, contained largely medical equipment, test kits and valuable items, which are extremely important to the national response on the pandemic.
The National Coordinator of PTF on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, made the clarification yesterday at the task force’s media briefing to discourage hoodlums who are looting COVID-19 warehouses with the intention to steal food palliatives.
He pleaded with hoodlums planning to loot its warehouses to desist from such, saying it is important that the assets are protected and used strictly for the purpose of tackling the pandemic as agreed with the donors.
The coordinator also clarified the difference between the PTF mandate and that of CACOVID.
He said CACOVID is a private sector initiative, which has worked very closely with PTF to deliver some of the key mandates..
“CACOVID has been a critical partner in our response to COVID-19. It has also been working with state governments and the FCT and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, to procure, deliver and distribute palliatives to 1.7 million Nigerians, to the most vulnerable households across Nigeria.
“What I am going to read out are the facts. Food items were meant to be delivered to 1.7 million families across all 774 local government areas in the 36 states and the FCT. It is an unprecedented relief efforts, which actually started out in April. The sheer scale of the food programme by CACOVID meant that the programme had to be delivered in a staggered and controlled manner.
“CACOVID worked with the states through the Nigeria Governors Forum to determine the number of households that will have these reliefs, to enable states and the FCT provide clean and secure warehousing for the food items. Only the Lagos warehouse is private property, the rest of the warehouses used have been state warehouses,” Aliyu said.
He stressed that the partnership also included the adoption of CACOVID guidelines how the food will be delivered to ensure equitable distribution of the food among the needy.
“Out of the 11. 7 million supplies ordered, 11 million were confirmed to be delivered. And in term of the schedule, 17 states had 100 per cent deliveries and a kickoff a exercise was conducted. Twelve states had over 85 per cent deliveries reached, only eight states did not have a flag off or a formal handover of these commodities. Of the eight states, two had 100 per cent deliveries and a process for kickoff exercise currently in place, while the remaining six states had over 68 per cent deliveries reached.
“Since the deliveries began with CACOVID and states government, official flagging and handover have taken place in 28 states and the FCT. And these states have been distributing foods in various places based on need.
“It is also important to clarify that some of these states government have bought their own palliatives that they are distributing. Some states have received complete or near complete deliveries of the food items allotted to them. As of today, several states have confirmed the completion of their distribution,” he said
He described as quite concerning that they continued to see images of looting on the social media given all the work that has been going on and the goodwill of the private sector towards supporting the COVID-19 response.
He said the PTF will remain focused in dealing with the pandemic and we will not be distracted, while pleading with the public to continue to cooperate with it and its private sector partners and state governments so that the country can get on top of what is clearly a major issue not only nationally but globally that continues to challenge governments across the world.