Recent reports about President Bola Tinubu‘s directive to distribute palliatives worth millions of naira to members of the National Assembly (NASS) have stirred confusion and controversy.
According to Vanguard, situation has become muddled with varying accounts from different stakeholders.
Initial reports suggested that President Tinubu had allocated substantial funds to Senators and House of Representatives members for distribution to their respective constituencies.
However, this narrative is being contradicted by some lawmakers and their constituents, leading to uncertainty about the true nature of these palliatives.
The Spokesman and Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Akin Rotimi, clarified that the legislators received palliatives, not money, from the President.
This statement further complicates the ongoing debate about the President’s intentions and actions. According to Rotimi, the palliatives were distributed through the Ministry of Agriculture, indicating that tangible goods, rather than cash, were involved.
Adding to the confusion, a presidential aide, Segun Dada, posted on his X social media handle 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.
This development is being closely watched by the public, who are eager for transparency and accountability in the use of government resources for social welfare.
He said: “After initial logistics delay, I can now confirm that Senators and members of the House of Representatives have started taking stock of the Federal Government’s palliative items for their constituents as part of efforts to ease life for all Nigerians.
“Each HoR member received items worth N100m while Senatorial constituencies got palliative items worth N200m.’’
Also, in a viral video, the lawmaker representing Etsako Federal Constituency, Dekeri Anamero, alluded to such.
But some senators and members of House of Representatives, who confided in Sunday Vanguard, denied receiving monetary or any type of gifts for their constituents.
Further findings at the constituencies of the lawmakers across the country, also revealed that majority are neither aware of the largesse nor haven’t received it.
In Borno and Yobe states, residents told Sunday Vanguard they didn’t receive such gestures from the lawmakers or any of their representatives. In Askira Uba Federal Constituency, Mallam Audu Isa, from Hawul, admitted receiving rice and condiments distributed by a lawmaker, Dr. Usman Balami, but said such a gesture was the legislator’s gift to his constituents.
He said the items were not from President Tinubu.
Another resident of Damaturu, Mohammed Gujba, said there was nothing like palliatives from President Tinubu.
“I can tell you that it is not true, because there was nothing like palliatives coming from President Tinubu through senators or House of Representatives members as being insinuated,” Gujba stated.
However, some federal lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a promise was only made to them by the federal government, but nothing was provided.
According to one of them, “What happened was that the federal government has promised to assist constituents through National Assembly members and Federal Ministry of Agriculture, but even the bills of quantity have not been perfected, not to mention contractors supplying the items.”
Another lawmaker, who pleaded anonymity, said, “My attention has been drawn to a video in circulation made by a colleague and Member of the House of Representatives, with gubernatorial ambition in Edo State, Anamero Dekeri, informing the public that all members of the 10th Assembly were given four trailers load of rice for their various federal constituencies.
“This information is not only spurious but also misleading. As the member representing the federal constituency, I can categorically say that not one bag of rice has been given by / supplied by the federal government of Nigeria for distribution to any constituency.”
Residents of Imo State said they weren’t aware of any Christmas palliative given to their lawmakers by President Tinubu.
In the 10 federal constituencies and three senatorial districts, nobody admitted to having received any gesture in that direction. Some President-Generals of communities said no lawmaker contacted them about any Christmas gift from President Tinubu.
Of the three senators in Kwara State, namely Senator Sadiq Abubakar, representing Kwara North, Senator Saliu Mustapha of Kwara Central and Senator Lola Ashiru, representing Kwara South, only the latter failed to distribute the palliatives meant for the people of Kwara South.
According to Vanguard, findings across Kwara South Senatorial District revealed that no item branded palliative was given to people of the constituency during the yuletide.
It was, however, learnt that Senator Saliu Mustapha of Kwara Central and Senator Sadiq Abubakar, Kwara North, distributed palliatives such as rice and groundnut oil among others during the yuletide.
It was noted that lorry loads of items such as small rebagged rice, groundnut oil and bags of Semovita among others branded in their names were reportedly distributed to their constituencies by their aides. It was done through representatives of various groups and associations during the yuletide.
Similarly, the six members of House of Representatives from the state were said to have distributed food items to their constituencies.
A cross-section of those interviewed in Ondo State denied receiving food items from their representatives in NASS.
Also, two legislators said they didn’t receive any Christmas palliative from President Bola Tinubu.
Speaking in Akure, the Senator representing Ondo Central, Niyi Adegbonmire, said no food item was distributed to them by the federal government for onward distribution to their constituents.
Also speaking at a town hall meeting in Idanre, to update his people on his six-month stewardship, Festus Akingbaso, who represents ldanre/ lfedore Federal Constituency, said government only pledged to send the items.
He said, “We have not received any food item as palliatives. Although the federal government promised to send the palliatives to members of the National Assembly, we are yet to receive the food items.
“The food items I distributed were purchased by me. If we receive the promised food items from the government, we’ll distribute them to our constituents.”
In Oyo, residents said they were yet to receive anything. At Mokola area of Ibadan, people standing in a cluster said they were not expecting anything from lawmakers.
Speaking on behalf of the crowd under Mokola flyover, Mr Jimoh Alake, a popular grocery seller, said, “if the government has any palliative for us, it shouldn’t be shared through those legislators who are only interested in their welfare and that of their cronies.”
Mama Ayo, a printer in Ago Tapa area of the city, dismissed the question of whether she was given any palliative, hysterically.
She said, “We are in big trouble in this country.“
A lawyer, Taiwo Adediran, said, “government knows what to do if it actually wants to help Nigerians. It is not ready to help Nigerians. They created the Bank Verification Number, BVN, so why can’t they use the BVN to distribute such money? I believe government indirectly gifted the senators money and not the masses.
“If anyone commits an offence, don’t they know how to trace the person? When it comes to the sharing of money, they use the legislators.”
In Osun, it was learnt that most of the lawmakers did not distribute any sort of palliative.
Members of various constituencies said they only heard about the said palliatives, but didn’t receive any from their legislators.
Adedayo Adedeji, who is from Atakumosa-West in Ijesa-South Federal Constituency, challenged his lawmaker, Sanya Omirin, to tell the people the true story about the palliative.