The Committee set up by the Rivers State Government commenced the distribution of food stuffs to various Local Government Areas of the State.
The Vortex correspondent who visited the committee’s warehouse located at the former state campaign office of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opposite the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, witnessed vehicles loading tubers of yams, bags or rice and cartons of Indomie noddles to Local Government Areas.
An official of the committee who spoke to The Vortex under anonymity explained that the 23 local government took councils turns to load their allocations to their respective areas; stressing that it was the councils to distribute what is due to the wards and communities in the councils.
At the Obio Akpor local council headquarters, where the council authorities shared the items to the various wards on Thursday, The Vortex noted that each of the wards was allocated 10 bags of rice, about 50 tubers of yams and some cartons of Indomie noddles. The items were supervised and conveyed to the respective wards by the councilors representing the wards in the council.
Attempts to ascertain the criteria for the allocation of the items to the wards from the chairman of the council was rebuffed by aids to the chairman, Hon. Solomon Eke.
At the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area which took its turn on Friday, each of the ward councilors took turns to load the allocated items approved for the various wards in the city council area.
Although no explanation was made available on the modalities for allocation of the palliatives to the wards, The Vortex noted that some wards loaded as many as 100-200 cartons of Indomie noddles, 10 bags of rice and over 50 tubers of yams in the respective vehicles heading to the wards in the local government.
However, information received from some residents of the wards in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City Council area speak of mounting discontent and frustrations over the manner the items were shared in the wards.
In ward 2,3,4,5 in Ogbunabali area of Port Harcourt City Local Government, residents who spoke to The Vortex said they were not aware of any items being shared to residents in the area.
A widow, who gave her name as Mrs. Chiamaka, told this medium that she only heard that the state government would distribute food to the people but she was yet to see where the food are being given out.
Many people interviewed on the matter seem not to know their council representative or where the items were being given out to the residents, there were complaints about the items is being carried by Party faithful and ward.
In Obio/Akpor, ward leaders were said to have diverted most of the items basely be enough for a baby.
The Vortex investigation showed that the items allocated to the various wards appears inadequate to reach.
Observers believe that Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor which are the largest urban local councils, sharing 10 bags of rice, 100 yams tubers and some cartons of noddles to the wards for over 300 persons will indeed be a drop in the ocean.
Comrade Enefa Georgewill, chairman, coalition of Civic Society’s Organization in Rivers State decried composition of the committee in charge of palliative products in the state.
He condemned the appointment of the new chairman of the PDP in Rivers State Amb. Desmond Akawor as head of the committee, and called on the state government to create trust by involving notable non partisan Rivers people and engage the civil society and the press to monitor the process.
President Buhari grant pardon, excludes government in ensuring that only the party members will benefit from the largesse. The right activists wondered how the goods procured with the common wealth of the state will be entrusted to the party members, chairman and councilors of the local government and at the same time use the campaign office of the PDP as warehouse for the goods supposedly meant for all rivers people irrespective of party differences.
He demanded accountability, stressing that Rivers people should know how much is being expended on the project, contribution by corporate bodies and individuals, cost of items ete.
Georgewill said investigations carried out by members of civil societies indicate that only party members get the palliatives, adding that in some cases people are given a skin of yam, cups of rice and a sachet of Indomie noddles while party leaders take away bags of rice and cartons of Indomie.