Kwara Govt providing palliatives worth billions since COVID-19 outbreak — SA



…Describes Prof. Aderibigbe as myopic

By Matthew Denis

Special Adviser on Media to Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, Alhaji Bashir Adigun, has stated that the State Government has been providing billions naira worth of palliatives in cash and food items to residents since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 and has continued progressively to reach out to all segments of state.

In a statement made available to Nigerian NewsDirect on Tuesday, the Special Adviser has described the allegations put forth by Prof. Tella Aderibigbe as baseless and malicious acting on ignorance.

Speaking on some of the key achievements of the Governor, he said, “Contrary to his shallow knowledge of our dear State,  the State Government has been providing billions naira worth of palliatives in cash and food items to residents since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 and has continued progressively to reach out to all segments of the society and parts of the State.

“Kwara is a trailblazer in the Social Investment programme. Kwara is the first to enact its Social Investment programme as an Act of Parliament.

“The State Government’s home grown ‘Owo Isowo,’ (equivalent of Trader Monei under the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme), has supported hundreds of thousands of traders in the state while the ‘Owo Arugbo,’ a conditional cash transfer for the poor and the elderly has provided succour for the aged and the vulnerable in the State. There is also Kwarapreneur, a business pitch programme providing financial support for indigenes of the State with innovative business ideas. It’s the first of its kind among states in Nigeria.

“In Agriculture, Kwara State was incorporated into the Cadre Harmonised Food and Nutrition Analysis under the National Programme for Food Security in January, 2023. With the full support of the state Government, two Food and Nutrition Security analysis has been done in the State.

“The analysis has resulted in the establishment of working synergy between the Kwara State Government and all the Agricultural institutions, agencies and parastatals (such as the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority (LNRBDA), National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM), Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) and others in the State towards improving the Food and Nutrition Security of the State.”

According to him, there are ongoing interventions for 9,150 farmers in Kwara State by the National Programme for Security.

He said, “The state has completed processes and requirements for the establishment of a Special Agro-Processing Zone with dairy farming as main focus in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB). Because of this, the French government has shown interest in supporting the actualization of the Special Agro-Processing Zone (SAPZ) by assisting in the upgrading and modernisation of the pasture production, breed improvement, meat processing and irrigation systems in Kwara State.

“The State is now disbursement ready, with the Islamic Development Bank adopting the funding of the State’s SAPZ project on behalf of the AfDB. The project kicked-off in April, 2023 .

“As a professor, is Aderibigbe unaware that the food crisis in Nigeria is impacted by the security problems around the country, recent mass exportation of Nigeria’s food products into some neighbouring  countries, thereby compounding food scarcity?

“One wonders if Prof.  Aderibigbe truly made the remarks or was misquoted; either way, a clarification is necessary. I am confident that other state Governors will address him in due course, provided they even consider it necessary to dignify his generalisation. We take exception in Kwara state because he expressly mentioned the state.

“We really wonder if Aderibigbe is not induced by ulterior motives or other extraordinary considerations to make such ignorant and sweeping remarks in his assessment of developments in Kwara State, so unbecoming of an academic.”

Recall that Prof. Aderibigbe at an event in Lagos and published by a national newspaper accused Governor AbdulRazaq as one of the Governors sabotaging the efforts of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Professor had pointed out that the Governor is investing a whopping sum of N17billion for renovations of Kwara state Owned hotel which is not the priority of the people considering the level of poverty and untold hardship on Nigerians.

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