From Msurshima Andrew, Makurdi
Benue State Government has clarified the issue of the COVID-19 Palliatives meant for the state which were found at a market in Kano.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mrs Ngunan Addingi and Security Adviser to the Governor whIle briefing journalists Wednesday in Makurdi, said police investigation showed that the palliatives which had long been distributed to the traders in Makurdi markets were diverted to Kano State by some of the traders.
According to the police findings, one Alhaji Yusuf Abdullahi who is Chairman of the Wurukum Traders Association and a few others were responsible for the palliatives diversion to Kano.
Mrs Addingi told newsmwn that “Today the Executive Council met and one of the issues we find necessary to clarify is that there is a video trending on facebook and other platforms about palliatives that had been given to Benue State but were sold in Kano.
“I wish to say that this matter is not a matter that happened in October. It is a matter that when the CACOVID palliatives distributions were given, the committee had met and decided that some of the market people and traders that were also affected by not being able to open their stalls for a long time should be beneficiaries of these materials.
“So the markets association was invited when they were sharing palliatives and some palliative were also shared to them. And that is how some of the palliatives got to the market people.
However we heard that the chairman of the market association had collected those items and unfortunately sold them. As a matter of fact, the matter has been investigated and he was even arrested in Kano.
Also speaking, Security Adviser to the Governor, Col. Paul Hemba also explained that some of the palliatives were given to members of Wurukum Market Association through their Chairman, Alhaji Yusuf Abdullahi who hails from Kano state.
“So some how, some of them sold these palliatives instead of using them and according to them, they needed the money that time more than the palliatives. And when they were discovered in Kano market, the police in Kano made some arrests.
“Alhaji Yusuf Abdullahi who is the Chairman of Wurukum Market Association here in Makurdi was also arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
“So this is not related to the ongoing protest over ENDSARS or COVID-19 palliatives as being alleged or as the trending video portrays.
He therefore stated that the Commissioner of Police in Benue State has also been involved in writing and he is also carrying out investigation to the incident.
Also speaking on the alleged diversion of palliatives meant for Oju local government area of the state, the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Anthony Ijohor, (SAN), explained that a committee headed by him is carrying out investigation into the matter.
The SSG said they are still meeting and has appealed to the police to assist the committee with the investigation vowing that whoever is found culpable in the matter will face severe sanctions.
“We have made it clear that we are not going to shield anybody because the palliatives were meant for the people. So if anybody, no matter how highly placed, is involved, the person will definitely face the law”.