Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency disband the distribution of palliatives committee headed by the Minster of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, calling activities of the committee a fraud.
Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District at the Senate, says President Buhari’s goodwill to get palliatives across to poor Nigerians at this time of COVID-19 pandemic may be eroded by the many “kleptocrats” that surrounds the president.
A visibly angry Ndume stated that he had expected the president to announce the disbandment of the committee during his broadcast on Monday owing to outcry of many Nigerians who could not get any form of palliative from the Farouq-led committee.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in his Maiduguri home, Sen. Ndume said the Minister of Humanitarian affairs has failed to carry out her job in a transparent and equitable manner, describing manner and ways of distributing palliatives to Nigerians as fraudulent.
Hear him: “I’m not trying to make allegations against the Minster of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; What I’m saying are facts. If they will continue with the way they are doing now, they had better not distribute the palliative at all because it’s a fraud.
“My concern now is the manner and ways the palliative measures taken by the president are being executed. We have received numerous complaints and it’s very unfortunate, left to me, I’m calling for the so-called Humanitarian committee headed by the Minster of Humanitarian Affairs to be disbanded immediately and the president should set up a taskforce to handle issues of palliatives.”
According to Ndume, “the taskforce under the Chairmanship of each state governor, should include a Senator and House of Assembly member from each state, the Army, Police, Ciivil Defense, religious organisation, Red Cross, Civil Society Organisations to ensure the distribution of the palliatives; I don’t mind the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and members of Social Investment Programs as members.”
The senator, who picked holes in the modus operandi utilised in distributing palliatives to households and individuals, wondered why Zamfara state where the minister hails from would have huge number of beneficiaries as against states like Sokoto, Borno and Yobe amongst others.
“Imagine Zamfara state – the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs home state, has 291, 629 households and 1, 341,153 individuals captured under the National Social Register of Poor and Vulnerable households for March 2020, leaving Sokoto State which is adjudged as the poorest state in Nigeria with a paltry 3,347 households and 18, 435 individuals. Borno has only 7,130 households and 33,728 individuals.
“I have reliable information that even names they have generated is fake, the BVN is not fraud -proof, one person will generate thousands of names and after conniving with banks, they are issued BVN investigation will reveal all these.
They have the names of their cooks, drivers, relatives, relatives of their house helps and those they call the poorest of the poor and give this money to them.
“I call on the press to join in call to stop this callous act, you can imagine the situation our people are in at the moment, yet some people are rushing to either share or steal this money,” Ndume said.
However the minister has distanced herself from some of the allegations.
“These monies that are speculated to being shared is a program that has been in existence since 2016. It’s not COVID-19 money-sharing stuff,” Farouq said during an interview with TVC on Wednesday.
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