A new report released by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) today has said that the distribution of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency relief by the Kaduna state government is essential to the sustenance of socio-political stability in the state.
To relieve the burden of the COVID-19 lockdown in the state, the Kaduna state government started the first phase of the distribution of the palliatives to vulnerable residents on April 2, 2020.
The distribution which took place in nine (9) pilot local government areas (LGAs) of the existing twenty-three 23 LGAs equally spread across the three Senatorial Districts in the State.
It is in this regard that the CDD through its downstream partner, Young Innovators and Vocational Training Initiatives (YIVTI) monitored the distribution process by the Kaduna State government.
The report gathered from Kaduna South, Kachia, Jemaa, Chukum, Kaura, Zaria, Sabon Gari and Igabi LGAs showed that data on the monitoring process was mainly shared through the “KD Palliative Monitoring Group”.
The KD Palliative Monitoring Group was purposefully created to facilitate information sharing amongst the CSOs on the distribution of COVID-19 relief materials in the 9 Local Government Areas.
CDD and its partners while monitoring the distribution process of the palliatives to vulnerable households focused on determining whether people who eventually benefitted from the relief materials meet the criteria spelt out by the state government for a vulnerable group.
It also sought to determine whether the distribution of relief materials is devoid of any malpractices including diversion by government officials or any party involved in the distribution process.
Subsequently, the report shows that actors at the LGA level raised concerns over the constitution of a committee to oversee mobilisation of individuals and distribution of the palliatives.
The report observed several challenges which militated against the maximum attainment of the desired goal of the palliative measure.
According to the report, some of these challenges include the non-application of criteria for selecting beneficiaries as the clear-cut criteria for the selection of beneficiaries was ignored in some (LGAs) as a result of premature deployment and politicisation of the whole process.
For instance, in Kaduna North LGA, for example, findings showed that some persons mobilised to benefit from the relief materials were members or supporters of a political party. In other words, instead of the process to be guided by the set-out criteria, it was mainly influenced by party membership and affiliation.
The appointment of the top officials of the ruling party into the cluster committees caused disenchantment and apathy in some communities. This led many of the residents to label the distribution as a party affair and led to apathy among some genuine would-be beneficiaries.
CDD findings also showed that there was the absence of a structured quota system for each category of vulnerable beneficiaries leading to unequal distribution of the relief materials.
Furthermore, it was observed that the absence of crowd control strategy in some of the LGAs resulted in the neglect of precautionary measures such as social distancing, wearing of face mask etc. during the distribution.
Some of the recipients and distributors of the palliative all disregarded social distancing in their quest to access the COVID-19 relief materials. This was prevalent in Narayi, Kaduna North LGA. Also, investigations by CDD and its partner revealed that the polythene bags used for the distribution of the COVID-19 relief materials were not branded unlike in places like Lagos State, and this could aid diversion or rebranding of the materials to serve another purpose.
For instance, in Nasarawa/Kudanden cluster (Chikun LGA), Doka 1(Kaduna North LGA), we gathered that 102 cartons of Indomie and 300 gallons of Vegetable oil of relief materials were diverted by parties responsible for the distribution.
In addition, CDD and its partner observed attempts to muddle the process to disrupt openness and transparency. For example, the allocation for Gaji Ward component of Doka Cluster 1 that comprises of 400 packs was transferred to Badarawa Cluster.
Following these observations, the CDD and her partners recommend that all distribution process should take into cognisance social distancing and other precautionary measures, effective utilisation of traditional and social media platform as well as existing community networks in the State to create awareness about the distribution of the COVID-19 relief materials.
We also recommend the enunciation and strengthening of existing compliance measures to guide the activities of government officials and members of the committees’ actors with the mandate of identifying beneficiaries and coordinating the distribution of the palliatives at community level should be adequately empowered before the commencement of phase 2 of the intervention.
We also call for the provision of a list of identified beneficiaries to the communities for validation before distribution.
The Centre will continue to work with other partners where palliative materials are distributed to ensure transparency and accountability.
The full report can be downloaded on www.cddwestafrica.org.
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