In a recent development, the federal government (FG) has earmarked N57.8 billion for the acquisition of rice, intended for distribution to senatorial districts and federal constituencies by senators and members of the House of Representatives.
This allocation is part of the Christmas/End of Year Palliative Programme, where each of the 360 representatives was expected to oversee the distribution of trailer loads of rice worth N100 million, and each of the 109 senators was allocated rice worth N200 million for distribution.
However, reports indicate that some lawmakers are still awaiting the delivery of the allocated rice, sparking criticism from those who have already distributed it. Last year, the federal government similarly provided N2 billion to each of the 36 governors for the implementation of palliatives in their respective states.
Confusion and controversy surround recent reports about President Bola Tinubu’s directive to distribute palliatives worth millions of naira to members of the National Assembly (NASS). While initial reports suggested the allocation of substantial funds, contradictory accounts have emerged, leading to uncertainty about the true nature of these palliatives.
Akin Rotimi, the Spokesman and Chairman of the House Committee on Information, clarified that legislators received palliatives, not money, from the President. Rotimi explained that the palliatives were distributed through the Ministry of Agriculture, indicating the involvement of tangible goods rather than cash.
Adding to the confusion, a presidential aide, Segun Dada, stated on social media that the President provided palliatives worth N200 million and N100 million to Senators and members of the lower arm of NASS, respectively. This announcement has raised more questions about the specifics of these palliatives and the transparency of their distribution.
The mixed messages from government officials and the varying interpretations by lawmakers and constituents have created a cloud of uncertainty. This situation has sparked a debate about the administration’s approach to aiding constituencies and the effectiveness of such measures in addressing the needs of the people.
As the controversy unfolds, clarity is sought on the actual form of these palliatives – whether financial or material – and how they are being utilized for the benefit of the communities represented in NASS.