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    HomeNewsWe're not in charge of rice palliative distribution – Ministry of Agric

    We’re not in charge of rice palliative distribution – Ministry of Agric

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has said that it is not in charge of the distribution of N57.8 billion worth of food palliatives approved for members of the National Assembly by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for onward distribution to their constituents.

    The ministry’s Director of Information, Joel Oruche, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

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    This is contrary to the claim by the Presidency that the president, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, distributed rice and other food items as palliatives to lawmakers.

    Daily Trust had exclusively reported on Monday that the palliative was raising dust as constituents had accused their representatives of hoarding.

    The Presidency had while showcasing Tinubu’s scorecard in palliatives’ disbursement to Nigerians, said each senator got N200 million worth of palliatives; and N100 million for each member of the House of Representatives.

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    The Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Segun Dada, had, in a post on his X handle, clarified that Tinubu, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, “distributed rice and other food items as palliatives “and sort of constituency projects worth N100 million per federal constituency and N200 million per senatorial constituency.”

    Lawmakers devided on palliatives reception

    While some lawmakers had confirmed receiving truckloads of rice from the Federal Government and that they had distributed same to their constituents; others denied receiving them.

    The lawmakers reportedly lobbied the presidency for the rice palliative after the passage of the 2023 supplementary budget with a view to reducing the costof-living crisis, widely believed to have been triggered by the removal of petrol subsidy.

    The spokesman of the House of Representatives, Akin Rotimi, had also, in a statement, confirmed that the leadership of the House “successfully lobbied for additional palliatives for our constituents across the country”.

    He had said this was being handled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in line with extant public procurement laws.

    Agric Ministry not in charge of distribution

    But the ministry’s spokesman, Oruche, stated yesterday that the ministry was “not distributing any palliative.”

    The statement read in part: “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) has been drawn to stories making the rounds that the ministry is delaying the distribution of rice palliative and wishes to state:

    “The issue under reference concerns constituency projects budgeted for under the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation and domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

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    “It is common knowledge that funds for National Assembly constituency projects are domiciled in the relevant ministry for purposes of implementation.”

    It said the implementation process for the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation was ongoing, “including procurement of grains, which include rice.

    “Constituency projects in this instance cover a range of needs of the constituents including staple grains and some agricultural infrastructure as determined by respective members of the National Assembly,” the statement added.

    The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, was yet to reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone for a reaction as of the time of filing this report.

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