Nigerian state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors' Forum said the recent cache of palliatives discovered by citizens in warehouses across the country was kept in anticipation of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Some Nigerians upon the recent discovery of undistributed relief materials have taken to carting them away, berating the governors for stealing items meant for the public.
Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the NGF’s Head, Media and Public Affairs, on behalf of the governors in a statement, said, “The NGF pleads with members of the public to desist from spreading rumours which further creates panic and stampede.
“For example, some of the properties stolen and vandalized, include palliatives set aside for vulnerable members of society.
“The NGF reemphasises and corrects the impression that palliatives found in warehouses that were broken into in Lagos and some other states were kept in storage for members of the society especially our vulnerable citizens.
“The erroneous impression in the public domain that these palliatives were hoarded is not just inaccurate, entirely erroneous and untrue but also mischievous, to say the least.
“For the avoidance of doubt, some of the palliatives had the CACOVID stamp embossed on them, meaning that their source is unambiguous.
“As we know, CACOVID operations are mainly domiciled in Lagos, being the headquarters of most of the public-spirited organisations, corporate bodies, and individuals that came together to form the Coalition Against COVID-19; CACOVID.
“Until mid-October, when the NGF had its last meeting, up to ten States had not participated in the flag-off ceremonies for the distribution of palliatives in their States. This was because the items meant for distribution in these states had not been completely received from CACOVID.
“Some other states that still had palliatives in their warehouses chose to keep a strategic reserve ahead of a projected second wave of COVID-19.
“Furthermore, as of a couple of weeks ago, some states were still receiving palliatives from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“The NGF wishes to state categorically that no state has been involved in or has hoarded any palliatives.
“The NGF also assures all contributors to the palliatives that prior to the looting of these warehouses, states had kept full accounts of all the items received and distributed.
“NGF calls on members of the public to check their facts. While we all recognize the need for improved governance, we should be careful not to damage ourselves by pushing the wrong narrative.
“The state governors are doing their very best under the circumstances to ameliorate the needs of the teeming population.
“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum stands for justice, improved governance, and a progressive Nigeria.”