COVID-19: Ndume fires back at presidency, insists on corruption in palliatives’ distribution


Senator Ali Ndume representing Borno South at the Nigerian Senate has reiterated his earlier stance, asking President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the COVID-19 Palliative Measures Committee over its “dubious way” of distributing palliatives to indigent Nigerians.

The APC lawmaker had, on Thursday in Maiduguri, condemned the modalities adopted by the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry in distributing the palliatives and said the assignment should be given to a fresh committee that will use governors of the 36 States as links of distribution across the federation.

“We have received numerous complaints and it is actually very unfortunate…The president should, as a matter of urgency, form a task force that would deal with the issue of palliatives, headed by the military, police, civil defence, voluntary organisations and the NYSC among others,” Ndume had said.

But the presidential Spokesperson, Garba Shehu on Friday accused Ndume of politicising a national emergency and challenged him to name the alleged “kleptocrats” in Buhari’s government or keep quiet.

Shehu said if Ndume has evidence, then he should make public their identities as well as his proof, stressing that innuendo is not proof.

“At this difficult time of the battle by Nigeria against Coronavirus, everyone should help the fight and not seek to make political capital out of it, whatever his or her grievances.” He said.

But in his reaction to the statement, Ndume said he stood by his observations and recommendations as far as palliatives distribution arising from COVID-19 was concerned.

Ndume, however, said he was not ready to join issues with anybody having made his observations known.

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“I’m not ready to join issues with anybody on palliatives distribution , having made my observations known based on information I got from the grassroots as a grassroot person.

“I’ve made my position known on the programme and I stand by it,” he said.

In closely related development, The New Diplomat on Thursday had reported that the alleged lopsidedness in the disbursement of conditional cash transfers to indigent households by the federal government has been unsettling many in sections of the country.

While states in the Northwest were reported to have had the highest number of recipients of the transfers, states like Lagos (which has recorded more than half of Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases), Delta and Ogun have been excluded.

The development has made Nigerians to question the handling of the palliatives measures by the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry headed by Mrs. Sadiya Farouk.