By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed to governments at all level to create feeding centres for the citizens across the country following the extension of restriction placed on movement by the Federal Government.
It explained that reported cases of diversion of palliatives measures by officials monitoring the distribution, rise in cases of unrest and robberies occasioned by the lockdown had necessitated the call.
MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said though the extension was a right decision by the apex government, there is need for the federal, state and local government authorities to create feeding centres urgently in order to cushion the effect of the extension of coronavirus induced lockdown.
Akintola, through a statement he personally signed and released to newsmen on Wednesday, said the need to change methods of distributing palliative by the government cannot be overemphasized, adding that idea of sharing raw foodstuff as a palliative measure is being abused by corrupt officials as it is being allegedly diverted, thus not reaching the poor and vulnerable masses which is meant for.
“Governments at all the three tiers must devise means of making the diversion of palliatives unwise, cumbersome, unprofitable and therefore unnecessary. This can be achieved by organizing central feeding points in all communities at the local, state and federal levels. The same foodstuffs that are being distributed can be opened up, cooked and served in takeaway packages for distribution among hungry Nigerians.
“It will be unthinkable for corrupt officials to divert up to a quarter of cooked food without making a mess of their own houses, stores and offices. They will have no option than to distribute the take-away packages as arranged.
“We are constrained to cry out to the three tiers of government. Nigerians are hungry. Whole families are starving. Most of the raw foodstuff that is meant for poor Nigerians did not reach them. Whole areas have been neglected. Many streets did not see a single ‘derica’ of rice or gari. While we appreciate the efforts of the Federal Government in ameliorating the sufferings of Nigerians, we lay emphasis on the need to change the modus operandi.
The MURIC boss said the unprecedented hunger occasioned by the sudden life changes contributed to the astronomical rise in criminal activities in Abuja and Lagos, adding that the daylight robberies being witnessed in some part of Lagos and Ogun States respectively remained an indication that the palliatives are not being delivered to the targeted recipients.
“MURIC calls on all government officials involved in the distribution of palliatives to fear Allah. Each of you will be held accountable on the Day of Judgement. The federal, state and local government may not see you but Allah can see everything you are doing and the angels are recording every move of yours. You will be shocked when you are confronted with the video shot by angels showing how and where you hid foodstuffs meant for the poor, how you made hundreds of Nigerians suffer and how you sold foodstuff meant for the poor. If COVID-19 is real, al-Qiyamah is reality incarnate. You will certainly render accounts.
“We, however, advise the authorities to stop distributing raw foodstuffs which are subject to diversion. Instead, they should create feeding centres and share out cooked foods in take-aways. We also call for early payment of workers’ salaries to enable parents effectively keep their children at home thereby reducing the incident of gangsterism,” the statement added.