By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on government at all levels to ensure transparency in its mode of distribution of food items and other coronavirus palliative packages to the poor and vulnerable in the country.
It explained that the need for transparency in the process leading to the identification of the beneficiaries whom are indigent Nigerians and vulnerable people within communities at grassroots level had necessitated the call.
MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said several allegations from indigent that the government palliative packages are being sabotaged by officials meant to distribute it had raised the salient questions on the manners in which names of beneficiaries of the relief packages are being collated.
The leader of the Islamic human rights organization, through a statement released to newsmen on Friday, asked the Federal, states and local governments to made public the parameters in which the names of beneficiaries are being collated and that of community leaders who were consulted before the names were collated.
Akintola noted that the discrepancy in the handling of food items and its distribution which is being shrouded in secrecy has rendered the government’s measures useless since the system cant be described as open and citizens cant trust the government either.
He also called on state governments to desist from what he described as alleged parochial approach being employed in their distribution of food items and palliative packages on the basis of religion, ethnicity and political affiliations.
According to him, residents of Victory Estate, Iba in Iba Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Ojo Local Government in Lagos State, an area dominated by people of Igbo extraction, have alleged total marginalization in the distribution of the relief materials.
“We demand transparency in the process. Already, there are allegations of marginalization of sections of Nigerian citizens and people of particular faith in the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives in some states. I think this should not be happening at a time when the whole of humanity faces this horrible monster.
“We have received damning reports from some states but we want to be mature in the way we handle the allegations. This is not the time for parochial approaches. We will not name names but state governments where people are being marginalized on the basis of religion should take the cue from this message otherwise they will be exposed. We should not allow the integrity of the process to be eroded by individuals who have selfish interests,” the statement said.
Akintola, however, urged states government to set up process for the registration of senior citizens above sixty years of age which can be used for the preparation of post-COVID-19 welfare packages for the elderly in each state.
According to him, the gesture will set the pace for governments at state levels in taking adequate care of the elderly by injecting it into mainstream projects in collaboration with the federal government.