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Minister’s aide denies diverting Enugu COVID-19 palliatives

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{FILES] COVID-19 palliatives PHOTO: Business Day ng

Group says searching looters’ houses for items unconstitutional
• Abia gives looters seven days to return Aba Dental Centre equipment, others

A personal assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Flavour Eze, has denied taking delivery of any Federal Government COVID-19 palliative meant for Enugu State.

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He told reporters in Enugu that the clarification became necessary following an alleged petition that palliative items meant for the state were diverted by him for other use.

Eze described the allegation as unfounded, adding that the minister never took delivery of any palliative item either meant for the state government or the APC members in the state.

He said that the allegation was a grand design to discredit the good work the minister was doing, as well as to ignite a crisis in the state chapter of the party.

The minister’s aide said that just as other good-spirited Nigerians did at the wake of the pandemic, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama had on May 3, 2020, distributed some palliative items to deserving residents of the state.

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He said that the palliative items included food items, toiletries, protective equipment, and medical supplies, including theatre gowns, surgical goggles, latex gloves and others donated to the state government.

He said that the disbursement was done through Kwusike Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that empowers children, families, and communities in Nigeria and funded by Onyeama.

When contacted, Nwoye confirmed receiving a petition on the alleged diversion of palliative items by Eze, adding that he had directed it to the appropriate quarters to handle it.

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But when asked if he had information that the national leadership of the party and the Federal Government sent palliative items through the minister, Nwoye said only the accused or the minister could confirm.

“I am just a party chairman and if somebody believes he has information that another person diverted palliative items, the only thing is to give the accused fair-hearing.

“If I did not act, they may also link me and write a petition against me,” Nwoye said.

IN another development, an advocacy group, Access to Justice (A2J), has condemned the threat by some governors giving ultimatum to their citizens for the return of property and items, especially COVID-19 palliatives removed from government and private warehouses in the aftermath of the EndSARS protests.

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In a statement yesterday, Conveners of the group, Mr. Joseph Otteh, and Deji Ajare, said that in Nigeria’s constitution, no state governor has the right to order a house-to-house search of any residential or other building without a court order.

The group, which said it was unconstitutional for the government to search looters’ houses without an order from the court, urged the governors not pursue ‘obnoxious and illegal policies’ and also take the path of the rule of law and resist the urge to ride rough-shod over the Constitution with respect to the said lootings.
MEANWHILE, Abia State government has appealed to protesters that attacked and destroyed Aba Dental Centre and Aba South Primary Health Authority Office and looted the items therein to return them within seven days.

The state’s Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu, who gave the ultimatum in a statement, yesterday, directed the looters “to return the items to the appropriate offices or call the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters, Mr. Joe Chinwendu, on 08037649306 and or inform him where to locate the items.”

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