The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has decried the lack of cooperation by some State governments in the country in getting government palliatives to vulnerable Nigerians.
Speaking during a working visit to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Abuja, she said that the Ministry has a structure that all the stakeholders needed to work with.
According to her, people ask questions about what the Ministry was doing with regard to government interventions, a situation she said gives the Ministry concerns, adding that state governments’ collaboration would ensure transparent discharge of their mandates.
“In tune with what is happening around us which people are very much concerned about intervention that should get to the citizens of the country, we are here today to exercise one of those mandates of this ministry which is to provide effective coordination of humanitarian intervention both nationally and internationally which NEMA is leading.
“There have been a lot of palliatives that President Buhari has directed the ministry to carry out to the citizens of this country, one of which is food relief to the affected lockdown states by the Federal Government.
“I want to commend NEMA for these efforts despite all the challenges that we are facing especially in terms of logistics and other related issues.
“I want to say that there is a need for collaboration with the states, especially where we are taking these interventions so as to leverage the top-down sector.
“I know that we have a structure on ground, and we need to really strengthen that structure so that we are able to assist the victims and taking this palliative to the targeted beneficiaries, the poor and vulnerable in our society.
“We would like the DG NEMA to tell us about the State level arrangements because we have been receiving questions in this regard on how we are failing in collaboration with the States.
“Are they effective or we have challenges?
”I also want to know the list of inter-state borders and checkpoints. Are we screening at these checkpoints?
“We are supposed to work with states to ensure the operational plans at the state level distribution because it is very key to us because that will allow us to effectively monitor the distributions to the targeted people.”
Reacting, the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja acknowledged that there was a fresh challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the agency has skillful staff that have the capacity to handle all disaster-related issues.
He said their warehouses were inadequate to cope with relief materials meant for distribution, disclosing that they were currently using the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s stores.
“The moment the Rapid Response Team was established, we collaborated with them and also together with some other locations from the State Governments where we kept these items.”