Niger Assembly disagrees with COVID-19 Task Force claims of N795m expended to combat virus

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The claims by the Niger state TaskForce Committee on COVID-19 that it expended N795 million to control the spread of pandemic generated a heated argument when the state chairman of the COVID-19 Task Force Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane appeared before the legislators to defend the activities of the committee.

The Chairman had told the house of assembly that the committee had so expended N795 million out which palliatives were bought and distributed to the needy in the 25 local government areas of the state.

This claim generated negative comments and anger from the lawmakers who on Thursday resumed plenary after a break caused by the restriction of movements put in place by the state government to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Majority of the lawmakers who were in their various constituencies during the period of the Lockdown said they did not see any palliative being distributed to their people and wonder who were the beneficiaries of these palliatives.

One after the order the legislators picked holes in the submission by the Chairman of the Taskforce, saying in one accord that nobody from their constituencies received any palliative from the task force.

Ndagi Baba (APC lavun) specifically told the house that no one from his constituency got any palliative from the task force as claimed.

But Madaki Bosso (APC Bosso) in his contribution said the only palliative his constituent got was from them (lawmakers).

The House’s anger further grew when the Taskforce claimed to have spent N25m on publicity saying “which publicity, we did not read anything in the newspapers about Niger state COVID-19 task force.”

Earlier the Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the state government Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane had told the law makers that the task force expended N410m on purchase and distribution of palliatives to the needy in the state.

In addition Matane also said N85m was spent on “Electricity subsidy” to enable Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) increase hours of electricity supply from six hours to twelve hours a day.

He told the house that in addition to the N25m spent on media related issues, over N200m was spent on transportation of task force committee members.

The legislators expressed great disappointment with the activities of task force and promised to look into the report and take necessary steps .