The Kwara State Government has confirmed receipt of N2bn out of the N4bn relief funds that the federal government released for purchase of rice to be distributed en masse to vulnerable members of the public in the state.

The state government also announced on Friday, through the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye that the government was awaiting a balance of N2bn of the funds as well as N1bn worth of maize (40,000 bags) which the Central Bank of Nigeria is selling to each state from the national strategic reserve.

“We wish to explain in context the details of the N5bn Federal Government’s relief package earlier reported in the media. Each state is to receive N4bn to purchase bags of rice in the current market value and distribute same to citizens in the state, with the most vulnerable as the first priority. This is as agreed at the National Economic Council,” Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Rafiu Ajakaye told a news briefing on Friday.

“Each state is to also receive N1bn worth of maize from the strategic national reserve through the Central Bank of Nigeria. This is not in form of cash; it is maize. As of Friday, August 18, 2023, the Kwara State Government has received N2bn of the N4bn. It awaits the balance.

“The state also awaits the maize from the CBN. It is important to mention that 48% (N1, 920,000,000.00) of the N4bn is a non interest loan that will be paid back over a period of 20 months at N120, 000,000.00 monthly. This deduction begins in November.

“The state government has consequently ordered the immediate purchase of rice in the amount of the order.

“For transparency and fairness to all, distribution of the palliatives will be overseen exclusively by a committee headed by the Kwara State Police Commissioner, Ebun Oluwarotimi Adelesi, who will be supported by the Emir of Shonga, Haliru Yahya, state chairman of Jama’átu Nasrul Islam and Christian Association Chairman (CAN) chairman (or their representatives).

Others on the committee include Lawal Olohungbebe and Mrs Grace Funke Bolaji (both representing CSOs); chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Saudat Abdulbaqi, Steven Awoyale (Youth), a representative of the DSS, a female representative each from the ‘disability’ community and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), and Permanent Secretary (General Service) in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Abdulrahman Ameen Babatunde (Secretary).

The governor’s spokesman said further details on the palliatives will be released by the committee.

He informed that the palliative programme has no bias for partisan politics as it is meant for all citizens of Kwara state irrespective of political affiliations.

“Similarly, the state government hereby confirms receipt of the remaining three trucks of the bags of rice. The government had on August 8, 2023, the delivery of two truckloads of bags of rice, while awaiting three more,” the spokesman added.

He said distribution of the remaining three truckloads has commenced through various channels of reaching out to the public, including lawmakers who represent the 24 state constituencies and other stakeholders in the state.

“The government appeals to members of the public to remain patient and calm as multi-layered steps are being taken in phases, including huge interventions to support massive food production, local production of gas-powered vehicles, support for small and medium scale enterprises, manufacturing and other businesses, to boost the economy and ease the difficulties arising from the removal of fuel subsidy.

“The Governor commends the president, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the several initiatives of the federal government to bring ease to the people. The governor reassures all Kwarans of his commitments to their welfare at this time and always.”