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May 2024

Lawmakers differ on FG’s rice palliatives

File image: Palliatives

Tope Omogbolagun and Dirisu Yakubu

Lawmakers have denied getting rice palliatives from the Federal Government.

Some lawmakers had during the Yuletide distributed trailer loads of rice to their constituents in their respective names.

Among the federal lawmakers was the Senate leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, who according to a statement by his media office, distributed 3,000 bags of rice to his constituents during Christmas.

Similarly, the lawmaker representing Ayedire/Iwo/Olaoluwa Federal constituency, Mudashiru Lukman, on December 29, 2023, distributed 1,500 bags of rice as palliative to his constituents.

Also, the senator representing Abia North, Orji Kalu, distributed 5,000 bags of rice to his Igbere constituents in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, a gesture, he explained was initiated in 1986 as his philanthropic endeavour being funded by him.

Also, Senator Godiya Akwashiki distributed four trailer loads of rice worth millions of naira to his constituents in the spirit of Christmas.

In commemoration of Christmas and New Year celebrations, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan (Kogi Central), also distributed six trailers of rice, 20,000 notebooks, and 10,000 wrappers as well as distributed 5,000 branded bags to school children in Kogi Central.

The Senator representing Kogi West, Sunday Karimi, was also reported to have distributed eight trailer loads of rice to his constituents.

Things, however, went awry for the lawmakers, when in a viral video during the festive season, Dekeri Anamero, who represents Etsako Federal Constituency of Edo State in the National Assembly, said he got six trailer loads of rice for distribution to his constituents from the Federal Government.

Anamero, who is also a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress in the 2024 state governorship election, said the N100m worth of rice was supplied through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

Anamero said, “President Bola Tinubu ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to allocate N100m worth of rice and other grains to each of the 360 House of Representatives members to share with their constituents in December.

“For the 109 senators, the allocation was N200m worth of rice palliatives for each of them to share. Please, my people, did your honourable members or senators share Tinubu’s rice in your constituency this Christmas? Don’t mind if they branded it with their pictures,” he said.

Earlier, the Senate spokesperson, Yemi Adaramodu, said that the food items and money distributed for his constituents for the celebration of Christmas and New Year were personally funded by him and not an FG allocation.

Efforts to reach him for fresh comment proved abortive as he didn’t answer his call or reply to messages from our correspondent.

Just like Adaramodu, many of the senators refused to respond to inquiries on the rice palliative from Saturday PUNCH.

However, Senator Okechukwu Ezea (Labour Party, Enugu North), also denied receiving any form of palliative from the Federal Government but noted that the items he gave his constituent were from his benevolence.

He said, “Given the enormity of hardship faced by my constituents, I, at a personal cost, have gone ahead to distribute bags of rice in the new year across the 102 wards of my district.”

Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives has taken a swipe at the lawmaker representing Etsako East/Etsako West/Etsako Central Constituency, Dekeri Anamero, over what he called his careless remarks on Federal Government’s palliatives meant for distribution to Nigerians to celebrate the 2023 Christmas.

Anamero’s disclosure was said to have pitted some lawmakers against their constituents, who saw their representatives as a bunch of selfish leaders.

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH in confidence, the lawmaker said, “The truth is that the programme is real. The coordinating ministry is the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. I am awaiting the call from the ministry but I heard some of our colleagues have got theirs.

He said, “I cannot speak for anybody but what our colleague from Edo did is wrong. He made a careless comment. There was no need for him to say that because with or without Federal Government intervention, some of us have been giving out bags of rice to our constituents during major celebrations.” QR Code

Published Date: January 13, 2024

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