Benue State government yesterday disclosed that truck loads of diverted Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) palliatives were intercepted by the police in Kano State. The palliatives were meant for distribution to the poorest of the poor in Benue State to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr. Emmanuel Shior, disclosed this while briefing journalists shortly after the distribution of the last lap of palliatives procured by the state government to over 500,000 victims of Fulani herdsmen attacks.
The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are living in eight designated camps at the agency’s headquarters in Makurdi. “We have also heard reports that the police in Kano State have intercepted the CACOVID palliatives that are meant for Benue.
It may be the looted CACOVID palliatives and others from different sources that were reported to have been intercepted by the police in Kano,” Shior said. The SEMA boss called on the state Commissioner of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies to investigate the veracity of the claim by the police in Kano. He added that if the CACOVID items were truly from Benue State, they should be returned and handed over to the state government for onward distribution to the targeted beneficiaries for whom they were meant.
On the consignment of expired rice sent to the state by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Shior said the state government was making arrangements to return it to the Federal Government. The SEMA boss said the state government was not depending on the CACOVID palliatives to feed the IDPs. According to him, the government has been mobilising the agency from the inception to cater for the IDPs. He added: “So it is not that Benue IDPs are hungry in the strict sense of it.”