By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
The leadership of the Osun Food and Relief Committee on Monday revealed that it is now ready to take bdelivery of the 40, 332 units of 10kg bags of rice for onward distribution to the people of the State.
This is even as it expressed readiness to commence the distribution of the expected CACOVID rice on delivery.
The Committee also debunked the insinuations making the rounds that the State government deliberately hoarded the food and relief materials donated by CACOVID, meant to cushion the effects of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
The Committee noted that contrary to speculations, it has not received any rice component, just as it displayed the letter from CACOVID which had absolved the State of any wrongdoing in the looted palliatives, before the journalists, while addressing a Press Conference, in Osogbo, on Monday.
The Secretary to the Committee, Alhaji Adebayo Jimoh, disclosed these during a joint press briefing held at the Press Centre, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Osun State Council, Osogbo.
CACOVID is the Coalition Against Covid-19 established by the private sector task force in partnership with the Federal Government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation with the sole aim of combating the effects Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
Jimoh, who denounced the insinuations that the State deliberately hoarded the looted palliatives, said the letter from CACOVID was enough vindication to validate the State Government and the Committee’s earlier positions that they never hoarded the palliatives before they were looted.
He explained that the looted palliatives were not meant for distribution as at the time they were looted by miscreants who burgled the warehouse in Ede during the EndSARS protest.
“As a committee, we have no mandate to distribute the looted palliatives as at the time they were looted because we were awaiting the directive of the donors through the CACOVID committee,” he said.
“As you all know, the palliatives under our supervision were distributed accordingly during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but for the CACOVID palliatives, the State was asked to wait for further instruction before flagging off the distribution.
“As at the time the food items were looted, the donors had not delivered the rice component which was part of the reasons we were directed not to distribute.
“There was a letter signed and dated 28th September, 2020 by the Commissioner for Commerce, Dr. Bode Olaonipekun,and my humble self to this effect, demanding the release and supply of the rice component of the palliatives.”
He, however, said the State was now ready to take delivery and distribute the expected rice component once supplied as modalities had been put in place to ensure smooth and equitable distribution to the beneficiaries throughout the State.
Speaking on the proposed framework for the distribution of the expected rice component of the CACOVID palliatives, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industries, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Dr. Bode Olaonipekun, said the rice would be taken directly to the beneficiaries on delivery.
He said there would be no room for warehousing, adding that adequate security would be put in place to avoid the breakdown of law and order.
“We are not going to warehouse the expected rice component as strategy is going to take the form of direct supply for onward distribution,” he said.
“Each place of the distribution clusters will provide trucks for immediate takeoff of the rice and there will be a monitoring and evaluation team, which will include members of the CACOVID team, Civil Society Organisations; Youths and students, traditional rulers; religious leaders; and market women.”