By Mumini AbdulKareem
The People’s Voice Advocacy Network (PVAN) a civil society organisation established to advocate for good governance, equity and social justice has frowned at the ban placed on house-to-house distribution of palliative measures by the Kwara State government.
In a press statement signed by it Assistant Publicity Secretary, Comrade Olaitan Abdulraheem, the group described the ban an ill conceived idea and anti-people.
“We have carefully studied the press statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mr Rafiu Ajakaiye on the decision of the Task Force Committee to ban house-to-house palliative measures. Without mincing words, this is more or less an anti-masses decision with the intention to worsen the rate of hunger in the society at this moment of lockdown.
“We quite understand the need to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the society. No objection about that. We have seen some philanthropists, foundations and NGOs distributing their palliative items without breaching the social distancing order.
“They are well coordinated in their distribution approach. No stampede, no gathering of people above eight numbers. The state Government should encourage the well coordinated, individuals, foundations and NGOs to do more rather than giving unnecessary restrictions”, he noted.
The statement read in part:
“The state government and the task force team should know that in the midst of several identified potential dangers in the distribution of palliative measures, one is still preferable despite all being dangers.
“Therefore, the approach being adopted by indigenous associations like ABS Foundation and Awliya Foundation among several others take into consideration social distancing and some level of educating the public on the dangers posed by this pandemic.
“Encouraging them will cushion the effects of COVID-19 on the people and assist the state Government where they have failed to perform to the expectations of the people they are representing.
“Another issue of utmost concern is the manner in which the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is moving back and forth on the issue of his salaries. One will think the accrued salaries His Excellency is donating is something huge that measure up with what some Kwara born philanthropists are donating.
“For prosperity sake, we want to charge our leaders at all levels to be humane in this period of uncertainty and not be leaders who are stingy and out there to settle family or political scores. This is not the time to give political meaning to the gesture of some philanthropists, foundations and NGOs. The state government should allow service to humanity to take charge of their actions.
“The argument of the Kwara State government that donors should drop their items at different wards is quite unwise as people will still have to gather to collect these items. Hence the need to allow philanthropists, foundations and NGOs to distribute these palliatives to the people based on their planned schedules in strict compliance to social distancing.
“On this note, we want to submit that the house-to-house distribution approach is the best template any state of the federation can adopt. That is the same distribution approach Lagos State Government is using despite her high record of casualties. Kwara State case should not be different”.