From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) has commended the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai for extending the distribution of palliative items to 32,000 vulnerable homes in fourteen local government areas.
The Secretary to the State Government who doubles as the Chairman of the COVID-19 Relief Distribution Committee in the State, Balarabe Abbas had in a statement on Friday hinted that, El-Rufai had directed immediate distribution of palliative foods to the 14 LGAs in addition to the nine LGAs which has already benefited the first phase of cushioning the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Chairperson of the coalition, Ms. Jessica Bartholomew in a statement said that, the measure would significantly reduce hunger induced by COVID-19 lockdown especially among the benefitting vulnerable homes.
The state government had in April procured and distributed N500 million worth of food items to low income households in nine LGAs to cushion the effect of the lockdown, but, no specific amount in figure was given as the gesture extends to the remaining 14 LGA.
KADSPAC Chair said in a statement that “on Friday, the government announced the commencement of the second round of the distribution to 32,000 vulnerable households in the remaining 14 LGAs. This is quite commendable.
“This did not only show the responsiveness of the government, but also its resolve to ensure that the vulnerable population were supported to improve their resilience to the current hardship and hunger*, she added.
She further commended the state government for addressing some of the concerns earlier raised by the coalition, particularly involvement of party officials and other anomalies that characterized the distribution in the pilot LGAs.
She particularly commended the government for providing detailed information on the exercise to help civil society and media to adequately monitor the distribution to ensure transparency and accountability.
According to her, disclosing what each benefitting vulnerable households is expected to receive, would prevent the committee members from sharp practices and robbing the beneficiaries of their entitlements.
“The pilot distribution was marred by poor planning by the cluster committees, as the food items were either hijacked by politicians or shared among people not in need of the items.
“People living with disabilities were largely schemed out of the process, while the distribution was not orderly in some locations, leading to complete disregard to social distancing.
“But we are glad that some of our recommendations were considered in the second round of the exercise with steps taken to improve the process.”
“The SSG equally said that lessons learnt from the pilot exercise have been incorporated in the second phase of the exercise, so as to accommodate more of the target group. This is laudable,” she added.
She then called for partnership with the coalition in the spirit of Open Government Partnership (OGP) to complement the efforts of the government in all social protection interventions in the