Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has said that his administration is yet to start distributing palliatives from the N5bn allocated to each of the 36 states of the country, geared towards cushioning the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.
Engineer Sule made this known while inaugurating the Commissioner representing Nasarawa Eggon LGA, 20 Special Advisers, HoS, members of Local Government Service Commission, members of Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission, Chairman and members of Nasarawa State Teacher’s Service Commission, Chairman and members of CPWB, as well as the Governing Council of the College of Agriculture Science and Technology, at the Government House, on Tuesday.
According to the Governor, what is being distributed in the state as palliative, is the 5 trucks of rice, amounting to 3000 bags of 50kg bags of rice, given free of charge by the Federal Government.
He explained that, his administration saw the need to rebag the 3000, 50kg bags of rice into 7.5kg bags which turned out to about 17, 000 bags.
Engineer Sule added that, on its part, the state government purchased quantities of vegetable oil and spaghetti to be shared along with the 7.5kg bag of rice.
The Governor explained that photos trending on social media about palliative distribution in 1kg or even half kg and some quantity of oil, is not from Nasarawa State.
He said his administration has taken adequate steps towards ameliorating the hardship being experienced by the citizens of the state.
Engineer Sule announced that other palliative measures for civil servants in the state, farmers, youths and women, would also commence immediately.
“I am happy to inform you that last week, we have flagged off the distribution of food items in the three senatorial zones in the state. Other palliative measures especially to the civil servants, our farmers, youths and women, will also commence immediately.
“I urge you to remain calm as we believe that the hardship being experienced is temporary. Let me take the opportunity to explain what happened last week.
“I have explained it to so many other people at so many other fora. It’s the Federal Government that came up with this idea that because of the hardship created by the removal of subsidy, that N5bn will be given to every state. I have mentioned to you that we have received N2bn. We are also going to receive another N2bn in the next few days. N1bn is not going to be in cash, it’s going to be in form of grains, maize. The Federal Government has enough in all the reserves across the country. We are going to receive N1bn worth of grains that will be shared. We are yet to get that.
“However, the Federal Government has already allocated 5 trucks of rice through the CBN free of charge to all the states. We collected ours. When we collected ours, which will be 3000, 50kg bags. We rebagged them into 7.5kg bags because 3000, 50kg bags will be distributed in Lafia and a lot of people will not even know what is happening.
“That is the reason why we rebagged them into 7.5kg and we turned out with about 17, 000 bags, which is still not much. But we now flagged of the distribution. For the flagged off, we decided on the part of the state, to buy oil and spaghetti to share along with the 7.5kg rice.
“Because I have seen in the social media, by many people who only understand criticism, they are criticizing maybe some one Kg or half a Kg as part of something that is being shared. That cannot be from Nasarawa State because in Nasarawa State we did not share that. I participated in one distribution before I traveled to Kigali. Before I came back, the Deputy Governor has been to Akwanga and Keffi to do the same.
“However, this is from the free rice that we have received. We have not yet started sharing the one that is coming from N5bn allocation,” he stated.
The Governor added that, aside of the vegetable oil and spaghetti distributed by the state, his administration has also purched ten trucks of rice to be distributed to vulnerable families across the state.
Engineer Sule however, used the opportunity to appeal to those charged with the responsibility of sharing the palliative to discharge their duty with the fear of God.
“At this point, I would like to use the opportunity to call on our leaders whose responsibility is to share this. The Governor cannot go to every house in Nasarawa State to share. We are relying on you, our religious leaders, political leaders, traditional leaders, local government chairmen, overseers of development areas, various commissioners, advisers and the rest of that.
“I am begging you, to please, use the opportunity that God has given to you, to take these items and deliver them and ensure that everybody gets what they are supposed to get,” he stated.
He noted that, even before the commencement of the distribution of the palliative, he has, on his own, alongside other spirited individuals, started bringing succour to the less privileged inthe society from their pockets.
The Governor said his major concern is to create sustainable means of welfare for the people of the state and not to dwell palliative that may not be sustainable.
As the Governor, this is not sustainable, even if we give 10 bags of 50kg to somebody, after a while, it will finish. What is our dream? What is sustainable? What is sustainable today is to ensure that succeed in what we are doing.
“Last week, you must have seen the ambassador of China together with so many Chinese companies coming to see me in Lafia. The idea is that now, I have said henceforth this administration will only accommodate miners who are going to set up industry for the processing right here in Nasarawa State so we can generate employment for our people.
“We are not looking for anything more than that. And we have been talking to the Cadetral Office, any of this foreign companies that is not willing to establish the factories to process the materials here, then they should withdraw their license. Because it doesn’t make sense to take these materials out without doing that. That is what is sustainable,” he said.
Engineer Sule said he is aware of the agitation by workers in the state who are clamouring for a N10, 000 allowance like their colleagues in other states but that his administration has a better plan for the workers of the state that is sustainable.
“We are looking at the civil servants. The unions have been complaining that other states were paying N10000 to civil servants. It’s very easy for me to approve 10000 to be given to civil servants. But that is also not sustainable. The 10000 will not even buy you a half bag of 50 kg bag of rice. For that reason, it’s not my dream.
“My dream is what is sustainable that can be added into your salary that you can withdraw every month. That is what is sustainable and that is what is going to help you,” he explained.
The Governor however said, if the ten thousand naira allowance is what the workers prefer, with the new Head of Service in place, he is ready to approve the amount without delay.
“If your leaders have decided that the ten thousand naira per month for the next 3 or 4 months is what you desire, I will approve it today,” he assured.