By Chika Otuchikere
The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has given reasons why large quantities of the palliatives meant to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown were still found in the warehouses without their distribution to beneficiaries.
In a statement signed for CACOVID by the acting director of communication of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, on Monday, the coalition said the delay in distribution was caused by the very large size of the order and the production cycle required to meeting the demand.
The statement came as a result of the nationwide spree of looting of warehouses harbouring the palliatives by angry youths, following the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State.
The coalition which called for calm among the restive youths assured that the palliatives would be distributed to the beneficiaries.
Parts of the statement read; “Members of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) wish to call for calm, a idst the looting of COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution in various States Government warehouses across the country.
“The Coalition is deeply concerned by the recent events and is urging those involved in the wanton destruction of public and private property to immediately desists from these raids in order to allow the States to proceed with peaceful and fair distribution of these palliatives to the neediest and most vulnerable in our society.
“Over the past few months, the private sector, through CACOVID, has been working with all State Governors, FCT Minister, and the Governors’ Forum, to procure, deliver and distribute these food relief items to almost 2 million most vulnerable families (over 10 million Nigerians) across 774Local Government Areas of the country as part of the private sector’s support to the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sheer scale of this nationwide food programme and the timing of the orders and deliveries, which coincided with the lockdown and reduced movement across the country, compelled CACOVID to roll out distribution in a staggered manner, with states classified in three timed phases, to enable orderly delivery to the needy.
“At the time CACO ID embarked on the palliative efforts in April 2020, we decided to procure the food directly from the manufacturers to avoid a distortion of prices in the market. The food package was designed such that each of the nearly 2 million vulnerable families received 10kg bag of rice, a 5 kg bag of garri/maize floor/semolina, one carton of pasta, two cartons of noodles,5kg of sugar and 1kg of salt
“Unfortunately, the very large size of the order, and the production circle required to meet the demand, caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner, hence the resultant delay in delivery of the food palliatives to the state governors”
While expressing dismay at the turn of events leading to the looting of the palliatives warehouses, CACOVID urged Nigerians to disregard any unauthorised source of information regarding the current issue.