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Presidency Hits Back at NLC, TUC over Palliative Distribution Criticism



The Presidency has strongly criticized organized labor for making vague statements and sweeping generalizations, suggesting that all 36 state governors lack the competence to effectively distribute the palliative funds provided by the Federal Government. The Presidency labeled this assertion as absurd.

This reaction comes in response to remarks from organized labor expressing doubts about the ability of state governors to handle the N180 billion palliative allocation. The labor group highlighted concerns that the N5 billion fund allocated to each state government for distribution to citizens, aimed at mitigating the effects of the fuel subsidy removal, might be exploited by politicians rather than reaching the intended beneficiaries – the poor.

These remarks were conveyed by Ajuri Ngelale, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, during his appearance on the Politics Today program on Channels Television on Friday evening.

Ngelale disagreed with the organized labour movement for painting all 36 state governors with the same brush as if all of them are the same, all of them are performing at the same level and all of them have the same competency. 

We have to trust the governors 

Ngelale said,

  • And by the way, these state governors that the organized labour movement is painting all 36 of them with the same brush as if all of them are the same, all of them are performing at the same level, all of them have the same competency—we know that’s a ridiculous assertion.’’ 

According to the Presidential media aide, Nigerians should open a window of trust to the state governors in distributing palliatives, adding that they were voted in by the credibility of the people to address their needs. 

He said,

  • What we are saying is Nigerians elected these state governors just as they elected the president, and we have to trust the judgment of Nigerians who elected these officials to conduct these activities on their behalf. 
  • So, it can’t just be at the outset panicking that they can’t do it. We have to trust them to do the job they were elected to do. 

However, he added that given the “history of maladministration in our country,” such skepticism is expected. 

FG to monitor palliative distribution by states 

Ngelale also stated that the Federal Government is on standby to monitor the distribution of palliatives – meant to cushion the impact of subsidy removal to Nigerians at the state level. 

He said,

  • It is fair to say that there does not need to be a check. There needs to be a means of monitoring which is why federal regulators are involved; which is why we have put in place the palliatives distribution.’’ 

Ngelale, who admitted that there are possibilities of bad eggs manifesting in the disbursement process, pointed out that President Bola Tinubu is going to enforce a bottom-up approach. 

He said,

  • So, what we are doing now is this: yes, the state government is being empowered to the extent that they are implementing some of the palliatives that we are talking about with respect to the delivery of rice and maize to communities across the states and other supplements that are well known by now. 
  • “But what we are also doing is that from the federal end, we are ensuring that these funds are not just giveaway grants that don’t have to be paid back. First of all, it’s a loan facility.”