Nigerians have expressed their annoyance at the state governors over the delay in distributing the palliatives.
Recall that the Federal Government had approved N5 billion grant to be distributed in each state including the FCT, as palliatives to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
The National Economic Council, NEC, also noted that the government allocates five trucks of rice and 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to ease the subsidy pains and the effect of food shortage across the country but many governors kept the materials in the warehouse while the citizens are languishing in hunger.
Speaking on Tuesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress, in an interview with the Punch, lamented the hunger among their members and expressed misgivings about the way the palliatives package was being handled by the authorities.
The Assistant General-Secretary, NLC, Chris Onyeka, said: “We are not involved. How can we be involved? How can we be involved with the governors to share the federal palliatives? We are not part of it. I told you that what they have done is to dash money, N5bn each, to the boys, who are the state governors.”
On whether the labour union was working with states that had their own palliatives, Onyeka said, “For the ones engineered by state governments, our people have been involved since, like in the launching of buses by some states. But if it is the Federal Government-driven one, we are not interested. It is not part of our agreement.”
When asked whether the NLC would want to see the Federal Government speed up the provision of palliatives for Nigerians as demanded by many workers, he replied, “Yes, of course. We have been exercising patience, but the delay is becoming worrisome.
There is a presidential committee on that and it is supposed to implement this. The President also promised that he is going to restructure the committee. But as we speak, he has not restructured it and that has not happened. They better hasten up because we still have our plans if they fail to act.”
NLC official also noted that they made it clear that they don’t want any palliative for Nigerian workers and the Nigerian people to be handled by state governors, because the chances of the N5b reaching ordinary Nigerians is very slim, adding that it was form of settlement to state governors.
“That money was a dash for the boys. We believe the government has used that money to settle the state governors. It is not for the ordinary Nigerian or worker.
“So the possibility that such money will get to Nigerians is very slim and that is the truth. We made it clear that we don’t want any palliative for Nigerian workers and the Nigerian people to be handled by state governors.’’
“We made this very clear to the Federal Government on several occasions. So any money they are giving to them (governors), we are not in support of it.
He added, “But the one for Nigerian people and workers, we are still negotiating and we are trying to work that out with the Federal Government. Although, that is if they are willing to live up to their promises to Nigerians.”
The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, started the distribution of food palliatives to 3.000 residents on Tuesday. At the Maisandari ward of Maiduguri metropolitan council.
Also, the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule on Wednesday promised equitable sharing formula to all residents in the state irrespective of party, religious, and ethnic.
The food items, comprises rice, vegetable oil, maggi and noodles, provided by both the federal and state governments, at a ceremony at the palace of the Emir of Lafia.
The governor explained why he decided to use Palaces to distribute the food items.
Abdullahi Sule said: “The reason why we continue to go to palaces, is first, this is not an event for our party, the APC, this is an event for all political parties, for all the people of Nasarawa State irrespective of political affiliations.
This is an event for us to distribute food items to the people of Nasarawa State, irrespective of their political affiliations. In fact, I was telling the Commissioner jokingly that I want to see the women of APGA, NNPP, and PDP in front. I want to be the one to give them their own first. So that we can start from there and then go to other political parties. This is just to show you that we are very interested in carrying everybody along,” he added.