From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has described social media reports purporting that palliatives found in warehouses in some states were hoarded by government officials as inaccurate, erroneous, untrue and mischievous, calling on the public to cross-check their facts before spreading rumours that will further create panic and stampede.
In a statement issued by the NGF’s Head of Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the forum explained that the palliatives found in warehouses of some states were kept for a strategic reserve ahead of a projected second wave of COVID-19 pandemic and not for any personal benefit.
According to the statement, when the NGF had its last meeting in mid-October, 2020, ten states of the federation were yet to participate in the flag-off ceremonies for the distribution of palliatives in their respective states, adding that the items meant for distribution in such states had not been completely received from the Coalition Against COVID (CACOVID).
The statement revealed that the forum had since the beginning of the #EndSARS protest held several meetings to address the underlying concerns and members have aligned themselves with the call for justice leading to the setting up of judicial panels in the States of the Federation against Police brutality.
It further stated that the NGF regretted the loss of lives and property occasioned by the violent protests that erupted and called for calm.
“A lot of the information circulating the social media needs to be fact checked. The NGF pleads with members of the public to desist from spreading rumours which further creates panic and stampede.
“For example, some of the properties stolen and vandalised, include palliatives set aside for vulnerable members of society.
“The NGF reemphasizes and corrects the impression that palliatives found in warehouses that were broken into in Lagos and some other States were kept in storage for members of the society especially our vulnerable citizens.
“The erroneous impression in the public domain that these palliatives were hoarded is not just inaccurate, entirely erroneous and untrue but also mischievous, to say the least.
“For the avoidance of doubt, some of the palliatives had the CACOVID stamp embossed on them, meaning that their source is unambiguous.
“As we know, CACOVID operations are mainly domiciled in Lagos, being the headquarters of most of the public-spirited organisations, corporate bodies and individuals that came together to form the Coalition Against COVID-19; CACOVID,” the statement said.
The NGF therefore, assured all contributors to the palliatives that prior to the looting of these ware houses, states had kept full accounts of all the items received and distributed.
It called on members of the public to check their facts, while the forum recognised the need for improved governance and promised to do their best under the circumstances to ameliorate the needs of the teeming population.