By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has debunked the allegation that some states hoarded food and other items earmarked as palliatives to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement on Monday, the governors explained that food and other items found by protesters in warehouses in some states were kept their before the #EndSARS protests and meant for distributions later.
In the statement by NGF’s Head of Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the forum urged Nigerians to always take any information on the social media with a pinch of salt until they are able to establish its credibility.
The statement reads: “The NGF emphasises and corrects the impression that palliatives found in warehouses that were broken into in Lagos and some other states were kept in storage for members of the society, especially our vulnerable citizens.
“The erroneous impression in the public domain that these palliatives were hoarded is not just inaccurate, entirely erroneous and untrue, but also mischievous, to say the least.
“For the avoidance of doubt, some of the palliatives had the CACOVID stamp embossed on them, meaning that their source is unambiguous.
“As we know, CACOVID operations are mainly domiciled in Lagos, being the headquarters of most of the public-spirited organisations, corporate bodies and individuals that came together to form the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
“Until mid-October, when the NGF had its last meeting, up to 10 states had not participated in the kick-off ceremonies for the distribution of palliatives in their states.
“This was because the items meant for distribution in these states had not been completely received from CACOVID.
“Some other states that still had palliatives in their warehouses chose to keep a strategic reserve ahead of a projected second wave of COVID-19.
“Furthermore, as of a couple of weeks ago, some states were still receiving palliatives from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“The NGF wishes to state categorically that no state has been involved in or has hoarded any palliatives.
“The NGF has, since the #EndSARS demonstrations started, held several meetings to address the underlying concerns and members have aligned themselves with the call for justice, leading to the setting up of judicial panels in the states of the federation against police brutality.
“The NGF regrets the loss of lives and properties occasioned by the violent protests that erupted, and calls for calm.
“A lot of the information circulating in the social media needs to be fact-checked. The NGF pleads with members of the public to desist from spreading rumours which further creates panic and stampede.
“For example, some of the properties stolen and vandalised include palliatives set aside for vulnerable members of society.
“The NGF also assures all contributors to the palliatives that prior to the looting of these warehouses, states had kept full accounts of all the items received and distributed.
“NGF calls on members of the public to check their facts. While we all recognise the need for improved governance, we should be careful not to damage ourselves by pushing the wrong narrative.
“The governors are doing their very best under the circumstances to ameliorate the conditions of the teeming population.
“The NGF stands for justice, improved governance and a progressive Nigeria.”