FG gives states responsibility of sharing food palliatives

The Federal Government has said that food palliative would henceforth be shared by the states.

Sadiya Umar-Farouk, the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development said: “Going forward, we have decided to handover this food relief to the state governors for onward redistribution to their citizens, the poor and vulnerable in the society.

“In fact, I have started that. I was in Lagos last week and Ogun states and I have handed over trucks of food relief to these governors.

“So far we have reached out to the three affected states that have been locked down by the federal government, the two states plus the FCT. Also, we have deployed some food relief to two southeastern states of Imo and Ebonyi specifically.”

On the disbursement of cash to the vulnerable poor, she said: “I have mentioned it before that this is an approval that has been in existence since 2016 and we are using the exiting register. We will give them N5,000 per month but now that Mr President has directed that we give two months advance, that is why we are giving this N20,000.

“It is a process that is really cumbersome but with transparency and accountability, the ministry has already begun the digitalization of this process.

“We have four pilot states that are on digital payroll so far and we are continuing with that. We hope that in our next month’s payment we will be able to at least have all the states adopt digital payment. It is is not a one day off thing, it takes a process.

“We are using mobile phones, wallets because the BVN of these beneficiaries exists but it is not all of them that are on the banking system. So we are looking at all these issues.”

The minister said processes to expand the register have begun adding that the main focus would be the urban poor “because these are the people that have now become vulnerable as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown”.

“We are also focusing on people living with disabilities. Already we have some numbers in our existing sub-national social register but now we are going to focus more on registering these people with special needs.”

In a national broadcast on Monday night, President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the social register be expanded by one million households with the next two weeks.