The distribution of relief materials meant to cushion the effects of the sit-at-home order in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as a result of Coronavirus entered its second week with series of complaints by residents who alleged that officials shared the items to selected people.
Several residents in Kwali, Abaji, Kuje and Gwagwalada area councils complained that only indigenes and members of the ruling political party benefited from the palliatives while non-indigenes were ignored despite assurances by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs as well as the FCT Minister of State, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu.
Residents complained that the food items provided by the federal government private individuals and organisations were shared along ethnic, religious and political party lines in all the six area councils of the territory.
Reacting to the allegations however, executive chairmen of four area councils namely Abaji, Kwali, Kuje and Gwagwalada said in separate interviews that the distribution were made at the constituency, ward and unit areas with the help of political and community leaders such as councillors and traditional rulers.
Kwali Area Council Chairman, Danladi Chiya aka Maibayani assured that proper supervision would be put in place to ensure that the food items get to the people in remote areas of the council.
He told newsmen that the distribution in Kwali was deliberately commenced at the Yangoje Leprosy Centre to drive home the message that the food items were meant for very poor families and those who cannot provide for themselves.
Danladi Chiya warned that any case of diversion would be treated as sabotage while those involved will be regarded as criminals and prosecuted.
Executive Chairman of Kuje Area Council, Abdullahi Sulaiman Sabo, also assured that the council will ensure equity and fairness in the distribution process in the council even as he pleaded with people who have not been reached to be patient.
Abaji and Gwagwalada chairmen also appealed to residents of the areas to patiently stay at home and wait for the distribution committee members who have been directed to move from house to house to ensure that every deserving household gets the food items.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has exonerated the ministry from the allegations by Abuja indigenes and non-indigenes who have been trading blames in the sharing of lockdown palliatives to vulnerable people.
Dr. Ramatu, who reacted to the allegations in a tweet, said that the FCT Administration cannot do anything on palliative items given directly to the people by private individuals or organisations.
The Minister of State, who is in charge of the distribution of the government palliatives said: “There is nothing we can do about it: if private people had wanted it to go round. They could have brought it to the government, adding “we have a robust structure on ground for that.”
Dr. Ramatu urged residents of Abuja to know that there are differences between private social responsibility and government good governance structure.
“People are misunderstanding all these and making comments to mean that FCT is not doing anything and we have received some negative comments instead of commendations. Please help us to serve you all better.”
Some non-indigenes living in Kuje Area Council had complained vehemently that indigenes have been excluding non-indigenes from food items given by government, private companies and individuals.