The Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) has commended Kaduna Government for the distribution of N352 million worth of food items to 32,000 vulnerable households in the state.
Chairperson of the coalition, Ms. Jessica Bartholomew, said in a statement in Kaduna on Saturday, that the measure would significantly reduce hunger among vulnerable households caused by the Coronavirus lockdown.
Bartholomew recalled that the state government had in April, distributed N500 million worth of food items to low income households in nine Local Government Areas of the state to cushion the effects of the lockdown.
“And on Friday, the government announced the commencement of the second round of the distribution to 32,000 vulnerable households in the remaining 14 LGAs. This is quite commendable.
“This do not only show the responsiveness of the government, but its resolve to ensure that the vulnerable population are supported to improve their resilience to the current hardship and hunger,” she said.
She also commended the state government for addressing some of the concerns raised by the coalition, particularly the involvement of party officials and other anomalies that characterised the distribution in the pilot LGAs.
She lauded the government for providing detailed information on the exercise to help civil society organisations and the media to adequately monitor the distribution to ensure transparency and accountability.
According to her, disclosing what each benefiting vulnerable households is expected to receive, will prevent the committee members from indulging in sharp practices and short changing the beneficiaries of their entitlements.
“The pilot distribution was marred by poor planning by the cluster committees, as the food items were either hijacked by politicians or shared among people not in need.
“People living with disabilities were largely schemed out of the process, while the distribution was not orderly in some locations, leading to complete disregard to social distancing.
“But we are glad that some of our recommendations are considered in the second round of the exercise with steps taken to improve the process,” she said.
Bartholomew commended the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Malam Balarabe Abbas, who doubled as Chairman of COVID-19 Relief Distribution Committee for steps taken to make the process as transparent as possible.
“The SSG equally said that lessons learnt from the pilot exercise have been incorporated in the second phase of the exercise, so as to accommodate more of the target group. This is laudable,” she added.
She also called for collaboration with the coalition in the spirit of Open Government Partnership (OGP) to complement government’s efforts in all social protection interventions in the state.
She urged the state government to strengthen feedback and complaint mechanism for timely response to complaints by beneficiaries and concerns from civil society organisations.
The chairperson added that KADSPAC would monitor the exercise in all LGAs to ensure transparency and accountability as well as generate feedback on citizen’s satisfaction.
“We want to believe that the new approach will ensure that no one is left behind, especially the targeted poor and the vulnerable, including the socially excluded groups.
“These groups include the disabled, aged, people living with , mothers and children suffering from malnutrition among others,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the SSG in a statement on Friday, explained that a package of food items per benefiting household cost N11, 000.
He added that the package comprised of 10 kilogramme (kg) of Rice or Spaghetti, 5.0 kg of beans, 10 kg of Semovita or cassava flakes (Garri) and a carton of noodles and three litres of vegetable oil.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)