Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi (left); Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso; Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship, Beecroft, Apapa, Commodore Ibrahim Aliyu Shettima; Commander, 9 brigade, Ikeja Army Cantonment, Brigadier General, Etsu Ndagi; Commander, 651 Base Services Group, Nigerian Air Force Base, Ikeja, Air Commodore Rasaq Olanrewaju and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tayo Ayinde at a media briefing in Lagos.
Lagos, Borno, Delta states have been excluded from the National Cash Transfer for COVID-19, while the North West zone gets the biggest share.The National Cash Transfer Office (NCTO) info-graphics created on April 11, 2020 and made public by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) revealed the discrepancies in the cash transfer scheme.
It disclosed that 1,126,211 households were currently benefitting from the conditional cash transfer including: Katsina (133,227), Zamfara (130,764), Jigawa (99,004), Kano (84,148) and Plateau (78,431), while Borno, Delta and Lagos got zero allocation, among others.
Speaking to The Guardian, a public analyst, Bola Bolawole, lamented what he described as unequal relationship among states of the country given the lopsidedness in the national transfer scheme.
He said, “While there is nothing national in it, it is actually a transfer of the wealth of one section of the country to another. It shows the nepotism and tribalism of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, whether in appointments or allocation of resources, projects and even the coronavirus pandemic.”
On his part, Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin said the states being totally locked down received nothing, adding that the country could not continue this way.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has introduced a scheme to cushion the effect of the lockdown on on its residents. The new palliatives were rolled announced less than 24 hours after President Buhari extended restriction of movement in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The scheme came on the heels of the commencement of the second part of Food Stimulus Packages being distributed to 250,000 residents since the lockdown directive came into effect.
Besides, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has advised the federal, state and local government authorities to create feeding centres urgently in order to cushion the effect of the extension of COVID-19 lockdown.
It said this followed its discontent with the handling of relief materials meant for poor Nigerians, noting that the extension was the best option, especially with the new revelation that index cases had increased.
MURIC’s Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a statement said, “Government at all levels should device means of making the diversion of palliatives cumbersome, unprofitable and unnecessary.
Meanwhile, the Biafra Zionists Federation (BZF) has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of dividing Nigeria along ethnic lines amid the coronavirus disease.
Leader of BZF, Benjamin Onwuka, yesterday said at a time when countries of the world were united in seeking solutions to the pandemic and cushioning the effects of lockdown on their citizens, the Buhari government was politicising distribution of palliatives.
His words: “It is now clear that the Buhari-led government has recognised us a people who are no longer part of Nigeria. This is manifest in the way the South East people are being excluded in welfare schemes.
“First, it was the $22.7b loan, which made provisions for other geopolitical zones, except the South East. As if that was not enough, the South East has been schemed out of the COVID-19 palliatives. They are sharing money to their cronies in the North, neglecting those in the South East.”