Nigeria’s former Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala commends Rwandan President - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Nigeria’s former Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala commends Rwandan President

Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has commended Rwandan President Paul Kagame for his government’s style of palliatives’ distribution.
Countries across the world have been offering food items to citizens to cushion the effect of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The finance expert via her Twitter account on Wednesday, said the Rwandan government had shown a great example.
“Responsible food distribution with social distancing to assist lower-income households in the #COVID19 era! A great example from #Rwanda where community workers also distribute food and other necessities door-to-door”, she tweeted.
Her post appears to be a comparison of the situation in Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari. 
Meanwhile, Nigerians are condemning what they describe as uncoordinated sharing of palliatives in the country amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Despite being Africa’s wealthiest and most populous nation, the federal government appears not to have a clear-cut strategy of reaching a good number of the masses.
The Buhari administration claims it is giving money to the people but has failed to provide verifiable data of those that have benefited so far.
It declared that the “vulnerable and the poor” are citizens being targeted but has, again, failed to explain how such persons will be identified.
Analysts are criticizing the government’s suggestion that Nigerians in rural areas need cash and food items more than those in urban areas.
Even so, the Buhari administration has, till date, not released a list or a breakdown of villages and communities the consignments have been or will be dispatched to.
But the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, says the government has it all figured out.
She spoke after Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, handed over 12,500 metric tonnes of food items at the Minna Silo Complex in Niger State.
We have a structure in place from the national down to state and the local government areas. 25 per cent of the states’ population are the ones we are going to reach and these are the vulnerable,” the minister said.
In reaction to the food and cash distribution plans of the government, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) believes it is all a scam.
PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, noted that failure of the COVID-19 social palliatives to reach Nigerians validates allegations that the APC has been using ghost beneficiaries to siphon resources.
The main opposition in Nigeria described as alarming the fact that not even a handful of Nigerians have acknowledged receipt of food or cash even when the Buhari administration claimed to have paid out billions.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note how officials of the APC-led administration fraudulently sidestepped extant financial regulations and illegally resorted to cash disbursements, directly by a cabinet minister, instead of using the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cash disbursement facility.
Such was part of the design to use few unsuspecting Nigerians to circumvent the system, muddle up financial documentation and accountability processes and facilitate the siphoning of a huge chunk of the palliative fund.
Such practice directly points to a fraudulent diversion of funds which had been exposed by the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, as a fraud, when she revealed that the N500bn Social Investment Programme of the Buhari administration was not getting to the target beneficiaries.
“More embarrassing is the duplicitous inclusion of the scandalous school feeding programme as an expenditure line even when schools are closed following the social distancing directives; an alarming development that points to the level of corruption in the APC administration.”
PDP said Nigerians can now see how the Buhari administration has been using the names of poor Nigerians to loot national treasury to finance their wasteful lifestyle while the majority of citizens were in hardship and abject poverty.

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