BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Nigerians have urged their state governors to come out clean on the N2 billion relief funds they received from the Federal Government and use the money to ameliorate their suffering.
The N2 billion palliative funds is part of the N5 billion the government at the centre promised to allocate to states to cushion the effects of the petrol subsidy removal.
While some states including Osun, Imo, Kwara, among others have announced the receipt of the money, others have kept mute.
Some Nigerians who spoke with The Point during interviews warned the state governors against diverting the money and urged them to immediately commence action on their plans for the spending of the fund.
Others also urged governors in some states where the Independent National Electoral Commission would be conducting off-season elections to resist the temptations of using the fund to execute the election.
A citizen, Emmanuel Ogundeji expressed anger over the manner in which bags of rice sent it states as palliatives were distributed saying most vulnerable persons did not benefit from the grain.
Ogundeji said the N2 billion should not experience the same fate and called on state governors to avail their citizens with information on how they want to spend the relief fund.
“I feel the more the silence on this N2billion, the more chances of it being diverted or even embezzled. That is why I am calling on our state governors to act on this money now so that they can dispel insinuations that the money may go the same way most bags of palliative rice went,” he said.
Expressing similar fear of diversion of the fund, another citizen, Ejike Agbo, said the delay in the disbursement of the fund was suspicious and asked state governors to show empathy to suffering Nigerians by distributing the money without further delay.
Already, in some states that have announced the receipt of the fund, the opposition political parties there have accused the ruling parties of plans to hoard the money.
In Osun State, the chairman of All Progressives Congress, Tajudeen Lawal, said the delay in the disbursement of the money showed lack of empathy by the PDP.
Lawal noted that it was worrisome that Governor Ademola Adeleke appeared confused about what to do with the money when other states had since completed the process of disbursement.
Lawal said, “The delay in the disbursement of the N2billion by Adeleke as and when due is a sheer act of wickedness and confirmation of lack of empathy by the PDP administration for the needy in the state.
“Governor Adeleke and his co-travellers should tread with caution if the news going around in the state is true that the state government has fixed in the bank the said N2bn to take an undue advantage of the accrued interest.”
Reacting to the allegations by the APC, the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, said it was unfortunate that the APC was counting on sheer misinformation to warm itself back into the hearts of the people.
While assuring that the N2bn was safe and would be applied in a transparent manner to beneficiaries, the state government stressed that it was resolved to transparently and judiciously administer any resource in its possession.
Meanwhile, governors of the 36 states in Nigeria have been issued a 7-day ultimatum to give details of spending of the N2 billion palliative recently received from the Federal Government or they face legal actions.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project on Sunday urged the 36 state governors in the country to “disclose details on spending of the N2 billion palliative recently disbursed to each state by the Federal Government, including the names of beneficiaries and details of the reliefs so far provided with the money.”
In the open letter signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said it was part of the citizens’ legally enforceable rights to know how the money is being spent.