Thursday, October 29, 2020

OPINION: The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Hon. Thomas Gyang, is not guilty of the alleged diversion and hoarding of palliatives - Edward Auta Pama

There are so many things I hold to be true and thus never to be compromised. One such thing is to be true to my conscience and just to all men, irrespective of religion, region or political affiliation. I shall therefore never seek to score any political point by spreading lies or half-truths knowingly against anything or anybody. I stand therefore on my belief that corruption and theft is thriving under the APC-led governments at all levels more than at at any other time in the history of this country. The NDDC case, Magu probe and a host of other allegations of scandalous proportions speak volumes.
I also stand by my strongly-held belief that resources budgeted or donated for providing palliatives to the poor and vulnerable members of society during the lockdowns were largely mismanaged, diverted or stolen while the people for whom they were meant were left to wallow in hunger and want.
But, on the subject of the recent looting of palliatives in Kaduna, I did allege in a post I made on my timeline on...with the theme "hoarding by a commissioner in his private residence", I was wrong - and I admit it - as nothing of such actually happened. My position, however, was based on the facts available to me at that time. I am not afraid to abandon a position if I ever have superior argument or facts to warrant my doing so.
Therefore, I wish to share the truth as I have now come to discover it based on my own research. The facts are that:

The property in which the Palliatives were stored does not belong to the Honourable Commissioner, Arc. Thomas Gyang, even though it has been used severally by the Budget and planning ministry, the Chikun LG Palliative Committee, as well as other politicians for safe keep and subsequent distribution of items during the lockdowns. The office of the Budget and Planning ministry is under renovation and that explains the use of the property for some of its activity. 

The use of the facility is due to its having a very large store in it.

The palliatives in question arrived Kaduna (as in all other states of the federation), and to the said storage facility about three weeks ago meant for distribution to the poor and vulnerable in Chikun LGA using the state's social register.

Chikun LG Palliative Committee and NOT the honourable commissioner, therefore,  had resolved to keep the Palliatives in the said residence as usual in view of the absence of a secure warehousing facility in the Local Government Area.

That it was not the first time the facility would be used for temporary storage of Palliatives before onward distribution to the target.

Having stumbled on these new sets of facts therefore, it is important to review my position on the matter, so that I do not fall victim of hoarding the truth. 

Mr. Gyang-the Honourable Commissioner for Budget and Planning is certainly not a saint. He must have made several mistakes in the discharge of his duties, and may even mean many things to different people; he might be seen as corrupt, selfish, nepotisitic, uncouth or unkind to many. That is not the thrust of this post. On the issue of the Palliatives, however, I wish to state that based on my findings he is not guilty of the alleged diversion and hoarding of palliatives as he is being made to be. In fact he is not SOLELY in charge of Palliatives in Chikun Local Government Area. The Commissioner is only but a victim of circumstance. And, although I have many personal reservations against his person, I shall not suppress the truth in order to score any political or personal point. YES, HE DIDN'T DIVERT OR HOARD THE LOOTED PALLIATIVES.

Obviously, whatever is happening today across the nation is a product of the needless suffering and pain Nigerians have been subjected to, as well as the secrecy that has often shrouded public social programmes. If there was collaboration between the government and civil society organisations, religious organisations, community leaders, the media and even the opposition parties in the planning and distribution of the palliatives ever since, there would have been credibility and public trust in the process. This should serve as eye opener to those who wish to learn.
I pray as always, that our dear state and country survive this onslaught. Amen.

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