By Abdulmumin Giwa
Unlike the unfortunate incidences that unfolded in several states across the country, where hungry and poverty stricken citizens looted food items supposedly hoarded by the state Executives in warehouses, no such attempt was made in Kano state where Dr Abdullahi Ganduje is in charge.
In places like Kaduna under Nasiru Elrufai in particular, food items worth millions of naira were taken away by hungry and angry mob who believed it was given to them by the federal government but they were denied and hoarded by the state governments and preserved for personal caprices.
Elrufai administration in Kaduna made conflicting reactions expressing how angry and harassed the government is with the reaction of the palliative looters. The government announced the food not fit for consumption as it contains poison. The government later announced that the looted food items were meant for an anticipated second lockdown. It later announced that it will go house to house after the looted food items while advising people to return them.
In addition to all these, the state government instituted a 24 hours curfew in all the 23 local government areas, a situation that angered the public.
In Bauchi state, the governor, Bala Muhammad was enchanted by the fact that the mob made effort to loot the warehouse and the Chief of Staff opened it for them to see that it was empty. This is to depict that no food had been hoarded but distributed. It is good he shared the food items when it was delivered to the state and there was nothing to loot. But the issue was that there was an attempt by the mob probably due to lack of trust. They should have trusted the government enough not to even attempt looting.
On the other hand, in Kano, no attempt to loot the warehouse was made by the public due to confidence and trust they are having on the government. This is clear despite the volatile nature of the state.
The Kano state government not only shared the food items donated by the federal government to the public, but also added more items to reach out to the densely populated state, a state that is the most populated in Nigeria.
In addition to the funds raised by the committee and the donation made by the federal government, governor Ganduje also donated about N300 million to the committee to meet its target.
Governor Ganduje had initiated a committee for the disbursement of palliative to the public even before the federal government donated food items to the state.
Kano state government received a donation of food items worth about N500 million as palliatives from the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
The items donated include 224,100 cartons of Indomie noodles, 84,116 cartons of pasta, 27,734 cartons of macaroni and 112,055 bags of flour.
Others include 112,382 bags of sugar in 5kg sacks, 112,055 of 10kg rice and 112,060 of salt.
The Kano State Governor launched the distribution of palliatives to poor people following the imposition of lockdown order as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Ganduje initiated a Fund Raising Committee on COVID-19 headed by Yahuza Bello, former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano.
The committee initiated a plan and received donations from groups and individuals, with people like famous philanthropist Alh Aminu Dantata donating three hundred million naira (N300,000) to the fund.
The committee identified 50,000 households from poorest of the poor across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state as beneficiaries of the food items.
According to the chairman of the committee, the initial plan by the committee was to distribute the palliative to 300,000 households, but had to reduce the number of the beneficiaries because the resources at their disposal could not be enough for the target and the poorest of the poor households were identified.
Bello explained that the committee would start the distribution from the eight Local Government Areas of the Kano metropolis which it did and food items including rice and cooking oil were distributed. The pattern of distribution by the committee, the chairman explained further, is that the items would be given to four households each from the over 11,000 polling units of the 484 wards in the state.
Items distributed to the beneficiaries included a bag of rice, a carton of spaghetti, macaroni, dawavita four litres of oil each, semovita, pasta, indomie and cash gift of N2,000.
The Chairman further explained that they have formed sub committees in the wards that would be in charge of the distribution of the items to the beneficiaries.
Governor Ganduje who remarked while inspecting and watching over the activities of the committee said “we undertook a survey to find out the poorest of the poor families and we earmarked 300,000 families not individuals and because of the shortage of the funds and other logistics, we are starting with 50,000 households across the 44 local government areas.
“We identified the households according to the wards in the state, we have 484 wards in the state and we have 11,000 polling units. For each polling unit we have taken four poorest of the poor households for this distribution. It will cover all the state and depending on needs.”
That the palliative was designed to go round and the Committee’s commitment that ensured it reached the poorest of the poor was what distinguished Governor Ganduje from his colleagues in other states; and should serve as a lesson to the other state governors.