PALLIATIVE HOARDING: We Were Ahead of SERAP in Monitoring Distribution in Kano, Says PCACC
Kano was the only state in Nigeria that opened a public complaints machinery at the height of COVID-19 lockdown to hear from citizens any unpleasant issue related to the distribution of palliative materials in the state.
The chairman of the state’s Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, told Nigerian Sketch on Sunday that his commission was responsive to the general feelings among the populace that relief materials should not be allowed to be hijacked by politicians.
Rimingado was reacting to the suggestion by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that in order to avert continuous hoarding of palliative items by some state governments, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) should pressure the federal and state authorities to, among other things, “open public complaint reporting mechanism on distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs to ensure access of citizens that may be unduly denied of the aid to justice and effective remedies.”
He said “Yes. I agree with SERAP on this. But we were ahead in that respect. We did just that at the right time. We put in place COVID-19 Taskforce to receive complaints and tackle graft related to the distribution of palliatives. I’m certain we were the only institution that did it in the whole of Nigeria. We felt that it was not proper to allow things to be done without allowing the target beneficiary to have the opportunity to lodge their complaints if there was any wrong move by those in authority. We empowered the people and we have evidence to show that we fought politicians over this.”
SERAP had last week recommended that ICPC compel the federal all state governments to adopt the following measures in curtailing the incidences of palliative hoarding that led citizens breaking the law to get at items they felt were meant for them:
- Develop clear criteria on who exactly qualifies for COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs to ensure that the palliatives are not used by corrupt officials to benefit themselves and their political supporters at the expense of the intended beneficiaries;
- Seek and publish distribution information from federal and state authorities, including details of the timelines of distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs, as well as the logistics that have been put in place to facilitate the distribution;
- Seek and publish details of palliatives and other socio-economic reliefs that federal and state authorities have so far provided to the poorest and most vulnerable people, including the list of beneficiaries of any such palliatives and reliefs;
- Open public complaints reporting mechanism on distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs to ensure access of citizens that may be unduly denied of the aid to justice and effective remedies;
- Work with federal and state authorities to identify which areas remain most in need of palliatives and other reliefs and ensure timely, effective, efficient, transparent and accountable distribution to the intended beneficiaries.