By Abdullahi Yusuf
These are indeed desperate and depressing times. Desperate because people are toiling probably more than ever before, to eat, so as to keep body and soul together. Depressing because the efforts they deploy in order to make ends meet largely evaporate in vain as they produce scanty results.
Nowadays,many,if not most people, go about hungry, having not eaten for many hours or even days.As such, they are preoccupied by struggles to find something to eat, thinking much less about any other mundane things.
But in the wake of all these, a succur was announced by the National Economic Council(NEC). That the Federal Government had approved N5 billion grant to be given to each of the 36 states of the federation for the procurement of grains as well as five trucks of rice to each state as palliatives to cushion the effects of the withdrawal of subsidy on petrol.
The NEC also approved the distribution of 40,000 bags of maize to be distributed to the states.
It also directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to distribute foodstuff to states sharing border with the Niger Republic in view of the prevailing political instability in that neighbouring country.
Then,came another announcement by the Kano State Government that it would spend about N1.6 billion to purchase millet, maize and rice for distribution to the people of the state, also to cushion the effects of the removal of subsidy on petrol.
Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday shortly before the commencement of the weekly Executive Council meeting at the Government House, Kano.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, the gesture was in addition to the five trucks of rice donated by the Federal Government to the state, assuring that modalities had already been designed to ensure that the rice reached the vulnerable people in the society.
Dawakin Tofa quoted the governor as saying that his administration was highly disturbed by the hardships the people of the state were facing as a result of the removal of the subsidy.
He also disclosed that the state government was working out a plan to provide cows, sheep and goats to empower women, especially those in the rural areas for self reliance and economic prosperity.
The rolling out of the palliatives by both the Federal Government and the Kano State Government is a welcome initiate.It shows that the governments are concerned and responsive to the plight of the people.
Although some citizens argue that N5 billion and five trucks of rice to each state would not be enough to cater for our huge population, the gesture will at least begin to alleviate the people’s sufferings,while they hope for more palliatives to come from the government.
Afterall,an Hausa adage says:”Da Hanau Gara Mannau,” meaning,”Half Loaf Of Bread Is Better Than None.”So, let the citizens get the upcoming palliatives first, use them judiciously and pray for more to come.
The challenge before the Government now is ensuring that the palliatives, wether foodstuff, sheep,goats, cows or cash, get to the intended beneficiaries,the vulnerable poor.
Because there are palpable fears that the ugly experience of palliatives distribution during the COVID-19 in 2020 might play out again.During that period, palliatives largely made up of foodstuff were reported to be massively abused by those in charge of the exercise.
This time, government is expected to map out effective distribution channel manned by people with proven integrity to ensure that the palliatives get to the intended beneficiaries, especially in view of the fact that the 2023 situation is more desperate than that of 2020.
On his part, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf has already assured that modalities had already been designed to ensure that the upcoming rice reached the vulnerable in the society.
Other states in the federation are expected to do likewise,as we cannot afford to relieve the 2020 scenario.May Allah help us out.Amin.
Abdullahi Yusuf is the Editor-In-Chief of Prime Time News,a Kano-based online Publication.