Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, has explained that her ministry has only taken delivery of 40 trucks of rice out of the 150 seized by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the distribution of 150 trucks of rice seized by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to the 36 states of the federation.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had disclosed that the seized trucks of rice had been handed over to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for distribution to Nigerians.
Farouq, while throwing more light on the issue at the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said: “On the 150 trucks from Customs, this is what was pledged by Customs but so far, we have only 40 trucks available. We have been able to collect 20 trucks of rice from Lagos depot and we have given Lagos State their share and we have taken some to Ogun State while the one for FCT is on the way.
“We have also given to Imo and Ebonyi states. We gave two trucks of rice to Ebonyi and three trucks for Imo.
“Why we have a disparity in number is because we are supposed to get 19 trucks from the Onne depot but unfortunately, we were only able to get five but we are still in talks with Nigeria Customs to see how we can get the balance.”
On Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, she disclosed that Lagos and Ogun states just commenced the registration and capturing of beneficiaries.
“Last week when I visited Ogun State, they were in the process of doing the registration for the conditional cash transfer because Ogun was not in the programme and also Lagos. We have started the process of the registration of the capturing of the beneficiaries for the conditional cash transfer but for the other palliatives, we have taken to Ogun state and Lagos states.”
On the continuation of the school feeding programme despite the closure of schools, the minister said the ministry had put modalities in place to ensure that malnourished children were fed despite the lockdown.
She said: “On the issue of malnourished children, the president also directed that we should continue with the home-grow,n school-feeding programme without compromising the aim of that programme. We are finalizing modalities for the distribution of food to up to 3million households.
“Vouchers will explicitly state the date, time and location in line with the protective measures. Once the modalities are finalized, the three frontline states will be prioritized before we go to other states.
“We have secured the support of the World Food Programme to support us with other logistics in this regard. We have also door-to-door voucher system and this is what we hope to do and in that package, we have rice, beans, soya beans and other condiments that we have provided for these households where these children come from.”
She also stated that those who earn their livelihood daily will be targeted in the second phase of the extension of the lockdown directed by President Buhari to curb the spread of the virus.
Responding to a question on palliative given to workers in the informal sectors who earn their livelihood daily, she said: “These set of people are also targeted beneficiaries and we are taking these interventions to their communities and satellite towns where they live. So, they will benefit from it and some of them are already in the programme even before the outbreak of the pandemic.”