The Minister of State FCTA, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu has continued to flag off distributions across the area councils of the FCT. According to her, all area councils will be receiving a hundred thousand bags of rice and the same number of bags of condiments (Maggi, tomato paste, beans, salt, sugar, garri, semovita, oil) each, as part of the FCTA’s measure to cushion the impact of the stay -at-home order to reduce the spread of the Corona virus in the FCT.
So far, Abaji, Kwali and recently Kuje have all received and shared their allotted items, which according to the Minister, is a 100,000 bags each in all area councils.
While Abaji and Kwali have recorded a fairly equitable distribution among community members, Kuje, according to the reports we have gathered through our anticorruption network in Kuje, has failed at ensuring equal distribution, either in the quantity of items given to each household or in determining the beneficiaries of the palliatives.
Similarly, the process of distribution has been less commendable. Materials for each ward was handed over to their councilors who failed to communicate to community members on the modalities for sharing or when to begin actual distribution to members. After a long wait by Community members in their houses and others in open fields, in some wards, the councilors and other distribution officials finally begain sharing randomly reducing the content of the packages and prioritizing indigenes. Non-indigenes who are resident in Kuje were reportedly discriminated against. This was because according to the report we have gathered, the distribution officials realized the items were not sufficient for the entire households in their wards.
This brings to question the credibility of the process of distribution, raising issues of transparency and accountability with the palliative items received.
Beyond the Ministers announcement of a 100 thousand bags of rice and a 100 thousand bags of condiments, there was no known means of proving or verifying such was the actual number delivered or distributed in each area councils.
It has also been observed that the relief items were not distributed based on the beneficiary list earlier drafted, which was meant to document the most vulnerable in the community. This list was discarded, hence, indiscriminate sharing was carried out initially and later restricted to the indigenes. This is highly unacceptable and this method of discrimination should not be tolerated in any communities of the FCT or in Nigeria, especially at this time.
We therefore call on the Minister of State to take extra care to ensure that palliative items are not politicized. Clear modalities for distribution should be forwarded and monitored to ensure due compliance in other to ensure equity and justice throughout the process of the distribution of the palliative items.
Similarly, we are appalled over the absence of an online Communication platform in almost all the area councils of the FCT, with the exception of AMAC who is prominent on Twitter. Community members especially in Kuje remarked about the lack of communication suffered, waiting for the status of distribution. Apparently, the area council, had no website or any social media platform, not even a WhatsApp group to communicate or relay information to its members. Information is reportedly being passed through official announcement of the country TV channel, NTA or a council town crier, using a megaphone. This is at variance with the provisions of the open government partnership which require all government parastatals to operate an online platform to publicize public information, to promote transparency and accountability. Without the information on the actual numbers of relief materials delivered to the area council’s and each ward, it is increasingly impossible to determine accountability and the credibility of the process.
We are therefore urging all area councils of the FCT to embrace the benefit of technology and digitize it’s Communication processes to improve it’s Communication with it’s members and general governance of their councils.
We are hoping that the remaining area councils to embark on their distribution would be more transparent, accountable and efficient.
We will continue to monitor the process as distribution moves to Gwagwalada, Bwari and AMAC.
Co-convener Say No Campaign