Nigerians living in Bauchi, Gombe and Dutse have urged governors not to politicise the federal government’s palliative but to facilitate its successful distribution.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
They also called for engagement of civil society organisations and stakeholders to mobilise participation in the programme.
The citizens, comprising activists, academics and government workers, made the call in response to a survey on implementation of the FG’s N5 billion palliative to states.
The federal government had initiated a comprehensive palliative programme to support Nigerians and businesses to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
Ibrahim Yusuf, Chairman, Association of Non-governmental Organisations (ANGO) in Gombe, urged governors to shun political considerations in the palliative programme.
He said it was imperative for the state governments to ensure inclusiveness to achieve its objectives since the programme was meant for Nigerians.
He said that the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other organisations should be engaged to avoid turning it into a one-party affair.
“We should exercise caution in the implementation of the palliative so that it doesn’t generate tension because poor handling might create problems.
“This is part of the advice issued by the Department of State Services (DSS), asking governors of the north-east to prioritise distribution of relief materials to strengthen security gains in the insurgency-ravaged region,” he said.
According to him, fairness, equity and justice in the distribution exercise will thwart security threats and build confidence in the system.
Recall that the Gombe state governor, Inuwa Yahaya, had confirmed release of N2 billion out of the N5 billion approved for the state by the federal government.
Also, Garba Jinjiri, Chairman, Network of Civil Society Organisation (BASNEC) in Bauchi State, has advocated inclusion of the CSOs in the palliative distribution committee to promote inclusiveness.
According to Mr Jinjiri, the organisation was already working with relevant agencies to fasttrack smooth implementation of the programming in the state.
“We expect the community structure to be involved in the composition of the committee but we are not carried along.
“We tried reaching the office of the Secretary to the State Government to see why the community structures were not involved,” he alleged.
He advised the state government to accord priority to the indigents in the distribution exercise as against politicians or civil servants.
Abdullahi Yelwa, an economist, explained that the federal government provided N5 billion palliative to states to enable them to assist their people.
He said the federal government approved 52 per cent of the fund as grant while 48 per cent as loan facility.
Mr Yelwa also advocated for the active engagement of local government councils in the palliative programme.
“The LGAs as the third tier of government are closer to the people, therefore, their involvement will make positive impact.
“The state government should utilise the fund and offset backlog of gratuities, this will impact vulnerable families, especially those who lost their bread winners.
“It is also desirable to increase investment in agriculture in the area of extension services, provision of fertilisers and inputs to the farmers,” he said.
This, he said, would encourage productivity, enhance wealth creation and food security in the country.
Also, Danlami Haladu, Secretary, Nigeria Association of Small-Scale Industrialists (NASSI), applauded the inclusion of entrepreneurs in the palliative programme.
He expressed optimism that the government would ensure that the palliative reached the targeted population.
Similarly, Musbahu Basirka, Chairman, Jigawa State Civil Society Forum, commended the government over the introduction of a social protection programme in the state.
Mr Yelwa said that, “the intervention is in line with the global best practices and we hope that the effort will assist poor families and eradicate poverty.
“We commend the initiatives aimed at cushioning the economic and social effect of the fuel subsidy removal on the citizens.”
To fast-track implementation of the palliative, the Bauchi government has constituted a distribution committee under the headship of the state deputy governor, Auwal Jatau.
The committee is to fashion out strategies to assist the beneficiaries including payment of allowances to civil servants.
This includes payment of gratuities and pensions to retirees and pensioners as well as improved transportation services, procurement of food and non food items.
Moreso, the Jigawa government has distributed 10 trucks of rice to the 27 LGAs for distribution to the deserving households.
Commissioner for Information, Youths and Sports, Sagir Muhammad, said the gesture would cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
He said the government had set up committees at state and local government levels, to ensure that the palliatives get to the targeted population.
“Those targeted for the distribution are widows, orphans, people with special needs, traditional and religious leaders as well as the youth.
“Gov. Umar Namadi has flagged off the distribution exercise, and promised to expand the scope of the programme to all categories of people,” he said.
He said the state government recently empowered 1,000 women traders with N50,000 each to enable them to enhance their businesses while 1,500 business owners received N50,000 each.
The commissioner further said that some 1,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) received N100,000 each from the state government.