Posted by News Express | 8 April 2020 | 834 times
A pan-Igbo cultural group, the Igbo Renaissance Forum (IRF), has described as “laughable and gingerly devious the cash sharing show” spearheaded by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Ms Sadiya Umar Farouk, in Uli, Anambra State on Wednesday.
In an obvious display of deliberate false compliment, the group, in a statement by its International Coordinator, Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka (Oyi), said that it wants to thank the Humanitarian Affairs Minister “for taking the pains in this COVID-19 pandemic period to travel all the way to Uli, in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, just to give cash to those who have their names on her list.”
“We were anxiously expecting the honourable Minister, on April 8, 2020 to really surprise us and make the visit worth its while. But unfortunately, even though not surprisingly, it was a sad anti-climactic episode.
“Even though the Minister stated expressly that the Federal Government has given instructions for two months advance of the monthly stipend under the NSIP Programme be paid to the poorest in the society, it is unfortunate that we didn’t see this happen on ground, and we ask, ‘why?’,” the statement noted.
It further said: “For the records, it is interesting to note that there is an outstanding four months arrears owed the people with their names on the list that was used for the disbursement in Uli yesterday (Wednesday).
“The arrears owed were what the Minister came to offset as N20,000 given to the recipients at St Theresa’s Catholic Church Uli, in Ihiala.
“Our question now is, ‘where is the two months advance as directed by the Federal Government?’.
“It is very clear from elementary arithmetic, that if N20,000 was paid to people you already owe for four months at N5,000 monthly, it means that no palliative was offered to the recipients based on the COVID-19 pandemic stimulus package as claimed by the Ministry in charge.
“We are therefore asking the honourable Minister to kindly and expeditiously ensure that these individuals get the balance of N10,000, representing the cash for the two months in advance immediately, to help them through these tough times of lockdown and shutdown.
“We are however not enthused by such development, as it makes a caricature of the reason for this palliative.
“We also want to point out, for the records also, that for the second time, we are raising concerns about the risk occasioned by this primitive method of doling out cash across the table.
“We have attached pictures of the ‘money sharing show’, and it is obvious that social distancing and safety precautions for the spread of COVID-19 was thrown to the wind,” the statement declared.
The group also said: “We are therefore holding the Minister and the Anambra State Government responsible for such actions that exposed citizens to COVID-19 infection.
“We wonder how such an event did not attract the attention of the State Government and why the State Health Ministry and COVID-19 Team officials failed to make efforts at ensuring that the lives of its citizens were not endangered while trying to collect arrears of their stipends. We need answers and fast too.
“Like we pointedly made clear in our press statement of Monday, April 6, 2020, we as an organisation shall do whatever is legal in ensuring that the palliative promised to Nigerians is delivered at the highest level of accountability and transparency.
“Once again, we are eagerly waiting for the two months advance to be immediately effected in Uli, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.
“Finally, we demand that the full list being used for this disbursement exercise be put up on the website of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for clarity and accountability,” the statement affirmed.
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