Contact: +2347033996028 Ayade, Betta Edu Slammed For 'Hoarding' Covid-19 Palliatives, Governor Denies Any Wrongdoing - Grassroot Reporters | Nigeria's No. 1 Online Newspaper

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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Ayade, Betta Edu Slammed For 'Hoarding' Covid-19 Palliatives, Governor Denies Any Wrongdoing

The governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade and the state's Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu have been heavily criticized  for 'hoarding' Covid-19 palliatives meant for residents of the state.

Recall that yesterday, there was massive looting of the palliatives stored at different warehouses by some angry Calabar residents. Videos and photos of the looting spree obtained by GRASSROOT REPORTERS shows tons of food items comprising rice, garri, cartons of Indomie stacked in warehouses in Calabar.

Most residents of  the state who commented on the development expressed anger that amidst hunger and starvation in the land, such quantity of food items could be hoarded by politicians.

Simon Utsu wrote: "Yesterday, "Calabar" trended on Twitter- for the wrong reason. I sifted through the highlights of the trend and got this video... the part where the guy said "Food wey dey there go reach the whole STATE oh" really hit me hard. What has happened to humanity" He queried.

Continuing, he said "Let's assume that the governor was too busy to notice such amount of palliatives existed, why did my good friend before-before, his health commissioner & defacto chief of staff (and head of CRS Covid-19 task force) Dr Betta Edu, who rose to popularity riding on the wings of humanity, not bring the Governor's attention to it? People in power should stop pretending to be humanists when in  actual sense, they may not be. Every lie has an expiry date..."

Mbang Confidence, the Chairman of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Cross River State axis, said in a press release which reads in part: "Again, some few months ago after proper consultations with some officials on how to get palliatives for Nigerian Students, I was referred to Hon Betta Edu, I did a humble list of consumable food stuffs and modalities for distribution, but to my greatest shock, no information and no response was delivered to us till date. 

"Today, the youths are tired of starvation, we are now the topic of mockery, We are disappointed at this development, while people die of hunger, you store food for what so ever reason."

Afufu Anthony, one time SUG President, University of Calabar wrote: "How can the Government be so wicked and unfair to her people? Hiding palliative that is meant for the people in this pandemic period that is causing pandemonium  is not correct. If not that, the Youth decided to take the bull by the horn, I don't think the Government are ready to share the said palliative to anybody!  Soon or later, the items would have been shared among family and friends in the name of, the poorest of the poor."

Meanwhile, the governor has denied hoarding the food items, explaining that they were asked by donors, CACovid, not to distribute the items until such directive is given.

In a statewide broadcast on Friday, October 23, the governor said:

 "Briefly , on the issue of palliatives being kept in warehouses, every state will have palliatives in their warehouse.  Let me thank and acknowledge Cacovid for the massive supply of all these palliatives. Note that as you empty your stock, they restock. This keeps coming for Cross River State. Our last receipt was on October 12th, just last week. We were also told clearly that they (Cacovid) wanted to do a press briefing when they are handing over the palliatives. So there was a directive that this last stock Cross River got should not be shared until they come. The weigh bill is available and it has been released for all to see. It shows that the stock arrived on the 12th of October, 2020. Unfortunately by then this tension had started building up and we were already waiting on them to come. I also want to recall that we do the distribution of palliatives in Cross River State in a sequence.

"We started with traditional rulers and churches, then we moved to local government by local government via senatorial districts. We had done distributions in the northern senatorial district and in the central senatorial district. The next batch of distribution was to be for the southern senatorial district. So the stock in question is for distribution in the southern senatorial district. As can be seen in a lot of videos on social media and Cross River Broadcasting Corporation, each time we distribute, we target widows , we target the aged, we target people who do not have money, people who cannot work. We target those who can fish no more, those who can no longer fish because they are aged and do not have loved ones.

"If you watch the videos of our distribution, it is systematic. It is through churches and churches target the vulnerable and so as a young man who is 18, 20, 25, remember that the food you are picking belongs to our aged parents, a widow somewhere. There is hunger in the land and I know this very well. That is why our emphasis had been on mass employment, recruitment, salary payment, pension payment and creating jobs and focusing more on appointments . Today, we have over 6000 political appointees. I do not need that much number of appointees. So it is for food on the table. It may not have reached you but somebody somewhere may have been reached. We have just approved employment for another 20000 people and have made it very clear this should not be for politicians. I believe that in the course of time you will see the sincerity of my intentions."

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