RESIDENTS of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have expressed dissatisfaction over the quality of palliatives distributed by the FCT administration during the lockdown period.
This is coming on the heels of the presidential lockdown directive issued by Muhammadu Buhari in April due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic.
Residents of the six area councils expressed their anger on social media about the quality and quantity of the palliatives distributed.
They also alleged that physically challenged persons and the less privileged were left out, and the officials did not observe social distancing protocol.
According to SayNoCampaign, an FCT COVID-19 Palliatives Situation Room that monitors distribution process across the council areas, and reporting to the appropriate bodies, the mode of distribution in Bwari Council Area Council was also poor.
It had earlier criticised delivery of the grains and condiments in Gwagwalada, where it accused officials of giving preferential treatment to selected individuals, and sometimes distribute at night.
“We observed keenly the distribution exercise carried out by the Bwari Area council and are concerned that little or no progress has been made to achieve transparency and accountability throughout the distribution processes.”
oThe poor distribution arrangement aggravated the tension experienced in some parts of the area council, especially in Kubwa and Byazhin, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Co-convener, SayNoCampaign said.
“Reports of unrest marred the distribution exercise in Kubwa ward, whereby official ran off and community members made away with items. Also, in Byazhin, distribution was suspended and items were returned to the area council secretariat till further notice. Security men, distribution officials, as well as, community members were attacked and sustained injuries in the cause of the altercation.”
Describing the situation as embarrassing, Nwagwu said the situation could have been made better with a clear modality for distribution, transparency in delivery process and effective communication by the area council leadership.
According to him, community members were largely unaware of the modalities for distribution and had believed that only the vulnerable and indigent members of the community would receive the items.
Meanwhile, other community members argued that the council chairman had announced a house-to-house distribution.
“No beneficiary list was compiled; hence, most households were expecting to receive their share,” he added.
Nwagwu blamed the distribution officials who reportedly gathered community members in an open field to randomly distribute the items.
“The expectations of community members were further dashed when they realised that the number of materials earmarked for distribution in one community were small and could not go round.
“Hence, instead of getting a 5KG bag of rice, a module of Garri, five (5) sachets of tomato paste, few cubes of seasonings spice, 1 litter of oil, beans and 2 KG of Semovita bag, which the Minister of State FCTA had summarised as a bag of rice and a bag of condiments for an individual beneficiary, community members were rather receiving a 2KG bag of garri and two sachets of sugar per individual, or 3 mudu of rice and 2 sachets of tomatoes paste. The original package was stripped down to few items per beneficiary. As expected, this further heightened suspicions by community members who believed there was a foul play.”
The group also criticised security officials for harassing community members who took photographs and video footage of squabble between the community residents and council officials due to the flawed distribution process.