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KADSPAC Chairperson expresses concerns over palliatives looting in Kaduna

by Juliana K. Tauna, Kaduna

The Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) has condemned the looting of CACOVID palliatives stored at a private property in Barnawa area, meant for the poor and vulnerable households in Chikun local government area of Kaduna state.

Recent happenings in Nigeria, which started as a protest by young people calling for the end of the police unit (State Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS ) and Police reforms, has continued to take a new shape and  worrisome dimension.

A statement by KADSPAC’s chairperson, Jessica Bartholomew, empathized with Nigerians and residents of Kaduna state over issues that necessitated the protests, as there is increase in police brutality, hunger, unemployment, poverty, and despondency.

“However, what is wrong is wrong, and what happened on Saturday, October 24, 2020, is wrong.

“But contrary to claims that the palliatives were hoarded by politicians for private use, we want to confirm that we are privy to information on the planned distribution of the CACOVID palliatives across the state by the government,” she stated.

According to the statement, arrangement for the distribution of the palliatives to the poor and vulnerable households in Chikun local government and other LGAs has reached an advanced stage before the unfortunate incident.

“What many did not know is that the building in Barnawa, where the palliatives were looted, was the same one used to distribute palliatives to poor and vulnerable in Chikun local government in the pilot-phase across nine local government areas in April during the lockdown.

“As a coalition made up of civil society and media, we tracked the distribution from the same location to the various benefitting communities and reported our findings to the state-level committee and through the media,” the statement noted.

The coalition in the statement raised concerns around the unclear criteria for identifying the beneficiaries, lack of uniform packages for beneficiaries, lack of use of the social register, poor awareness, absence of civil society and media involvement in the planning process, among others.

The coalition added that they are working to support the strengthening of the social protection system in Kaduna state, in which their major concern was to ensure that the palliative gets to the targeted groups to avoid the error of inclusion and exclusion in the process.

“Eventually, during the scale-up phase to the remaining 14 local government areas in May, the state government adopted some of the recommendations, which improved the distribution of the palliative to the poor and vulnerable households.

“Based on our knowledge and working relationship with the government in the social protection space, the delay in distribution of the CACOVID palliatives was partly to allow the state government through the State Operations Coordinating Office (SOCU) to complete the tedious process of enumerating and capturing the poor and vulnerable into the Social Register,” the coalition added.

“As part of our request for civil society and media to be included in the planning and implementation of social protection interventions, the government had requested from us a list of civil society actors working on social protection in the 255 wards of the state, which we have provided, and they have been included in the ward committees as watchdogs to ensure that the poor and vulnerable households benefit from the palliatives,” coalition said.

It said the government had also directed the distribution coordinators to involve media in the distribution exercise for transparency and to keep the public informed and, that, the various coordinators were finalizing the planning process when the property housing the palliatives meant for Chikun council was vandalized and the palliatives looted on Saturday.

They however, appealed to people across the state to allow these palliatives to get to the poor and vulnerable households, and join the coalition in tracking the exercise to ensure that it gets to the targeted group, rather than looting it.

It therefore called on the state government to review the planning process to ensure wider community engagement and increase public awareness on the palliative distribution.

“This will ensure ownership by all community stakeholders and check misinformation on the palliatives that are about to be distributed,” it said.

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