Public Outcry as State Governments Stockpile Rice, Delay Distribution of Aid

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By Daniel Edu

• Borno Allocates Rice to 400,000 Families; Workers Voice Hunger, Call for Relief

• Labor Demands More than N5bn, Gombe Pledges N10,000 per Worker, Anambra Offers N12,000

The delay in distributing relief supplies by state governors has sparked public anger across Nigeria.

Various unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, and National Union of Pensioners, expressed concerns about hunger among their members. They criticized the handling of the palliative measures by the authorities.

Last week, the Federal Government announced the allocation of N180 billion and 180 trucks of rice to states to mitigate the impact of subsidy removal. However, many governors have held onto these resources while residents and workers continue to suffer from hunger.

As part of efforts to alleviate the effects of subsidy removal, the Federal Government unveiled a N5 billion aid package for each state and 180 trucks of rice. This move followed multiple fuel price hikes and increased costs of goods and services, contributing to heightened poverty levels.

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, during the 135th National Economic Council meeting, revealed the N5 billion grant for each state to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, and fertilizers to address food shortages.

Chris Onyeka, the Assistant General-Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, expressed concern over the Federal Government’s delay in providing relief. Onyeka emphasized that labor officials were not part of the committee responsible for distributing these palliatives.

He asserted that the N5 billion provided to states was merely a way to appease governors and not genuinely intended for the common people. The labor union opposed this form of distribution and called for a more equitable approach.

Despite ongoing debates, many state governments have yet to effectively distribute the palliatives to those in need. This has led to growing frustration and calls for transparency and faster action to provide relief.

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