By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA- THE federal government, yesterday,disputed the claim by the Sokoto State governor,Aminu Tambuwal that it was the cause of the delayed distribution of COVID-19 palliatives to citizens in the state.
The Sokoto State governor,while defending his administration’s delay in the distribution of the relief items to residents of the state,had blamed the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq,saying the minister’s directive that the state delayed the distribution so as to pool all the donations together,was the reason for the action.
But responding to the governor’s claim,the federal government said it would prefer not to join issues with the Sokoto State governor.
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However,it noted that the governor was economical with the truth,wondering whether it had direct control of how states should be governed.
Responding to the governor’s claim in a telephone interview with Vanguard, a source in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, asked the governor to accept responsibility for his failure to distribute items meant for the citizens at the needed time.
The source,who also disputed the claim of the governor that the items were received just two weeks ago in the state,explained that the relief items were given in the early day of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, asking those who failed in their responsibilities not to shift blame to the government.
According to the source,neither the minister nor the federal government dictates to the states how they should run their affairs.
“It is ridiculous for anybody to try to shift blame for his failure to the minister or the federal government. This is because neither the federal government nor the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development dictates to states how to run the affairs.
” As far as we are concerned as a ministry, we did our best by ensuring the distribution of relief materials to all the states in good time for onward distributions to their citizens.
“If for any reason, the states failed to distribute the items to where necessary, the ministry should not be blamed for that,” the source added.
Recall that in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests, several warehouses, suspected to contain COVID-19 palliatives, were looted and vandalised in some parts of the country.
Recall also that Tambuwal,speaking Tuesday, while addressing citizens on the government’s effort to check riots in the state, said Sokoto has no hoarded relief materials meant for distribution.
He said the Sokoto has only received two categories of palliatives since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the first relief materials received from the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) was a bit delayed because the donors wanted the materials to be pooled together before distribution.
He added that as soon as this was achieved, the distribution was done.
He said the delay in the sharing of the second category, received on October 17 from the federal government, was on the request of Sadiya Umar Farouk, minister of humanitarian affairs, who wanted to be around when the distribution starts.
He was quoted as saying that Sokoto State has no case of hoarded relief materials meant as COVID-19 palliative.
“The state never recorded both the protest and the attendant mayhem.
“There was one by Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), which was a donation by an ensemble of philanthropists.
“The distribution of this category was a bit delayed months ago because the donors wanted the donations to be pooled,”the governor reportedly claimed.