How VSF used data to ensure transparency in COVID palliatives distribution – Task Force Chair

The Victims Support Fund’s (VSF) COVID-19 interventions have absolutely nothing to do with the CACOVID looted food bags seen in viral videos online, the VSF Task Force on COVID-19, a subsidiary of the Humanitarian organization established in July 2014 to take care of Victims of terrorism, insurgencies and violence across Nigeria has set the Records straight to the Pressmen.
Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, the VSF COVID-19 Task Force Chair also told Newsdiaryonline in a Statement that “VSF is not the same as CACOVID which was only set up in Lagos in March 2020. They are 2 separate organisations that are not affiliated with each other.
“Our VSF COVID-19 interventions whose focal points were Abuja, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Lagos, Ogun, Edo, Delta, Enugu, Ebonyi and Ekiti between April & May 2020 did not even include Noodles, Sugar, Milk and some of those things seen to be carted away.”
She also emphasised the fact that “As at today, we have no Palliatives left in any Warehouse in this Country as I can confirm they have all been distributed. In most States we made Interventions, we handed over 50% of all donations of Food and Medical Items to State Govts & 50% our Local NGO/Community Partners   with whom we executed the COVID-19 Projects during the Lockdown after a rigorous Verification & Selection Exercise which even saw us sign Compliance Agreements with them to avoid any anomalies.
“Our Monitoring & Evaluation Team were on hand to supervise end to end Distributions documented in Photos, Videos & Reports.”
Sources told Newsdiaryonline   that as yet, VSF didn’t make Donations to Osun, Ilorin, Jos, Calabar, some of which are the Locations in which these Warehouses were looted.
Ogunsiji, the Chairperson of VSF Task Force explained that this Public clarification had become imperative, following the videos circulating on social media where hundreds of residents were seen in different States last week breaking into warehouses making away with COVID-19 food palliatives marked CACOVID, believed to have been donated to states by the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
“I have seen the Videos of the COVID-19 Food Bags that were meant to be shared to Vulnerable Families now looted by angry citizens and I am surprised however I cannot make any unfounded comments as I do not know the facts about CACOVID’s support to States nor their Internal processes. ” Ogunsiji said.
In the same vein, Toyosi said she is truly proud of the efforts her team made in the peak of the National Lockdowns earlier this Year and the transparency, accountability and probity that epitomised the process of budgeting, purchasing and distributing of the Task Force’s N1.83 Billion worth of COVID-19 Pallatives which included 10kg Bags of Rice, Beans, Garri, Maize, 4Litres Vegetable Oil, 2kg Salt plus Safety Boots, N95 Masks, Surgical Masks, Hazmat Suits, Latex Gloves for Healthcare Workers in
addition to Hygiene and Sanitation Materials like Hand Sanitizers, Dettol Soap, several Cartons of Harpic, Jik and Dettol Liquid for disinfecting Public Surfaces to governments, communities and citizens across 12 States covering the North East, South-South, South East and South West.
VSF also gave Technical Support of Conferencing & Surveillance Equipment to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to aid Virtual Meetings and Central Data Management & coordination of all the 36 States from the FCT and facilitating the National Pandemic Response Action Plan and the activities of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee of the Federal Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Secretariat. VSF also donated ICT Equipment to the Ministry.
According to her, the Task Force was supposed to have been in the North West and North Central Geo-Political Zones this October but for the pockets of unrests in few States yet the organisation will be visiting Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Benue, Plateau, Nassarawa and Niger in the first week of November 2020 and Official Letters were since sent to States weeks ago.
“We meticulously followed through from start to finish to ensure that all the Food and Medical Items we bought were neither stolen nor converted by anyone since we had developed a standard profiling of our intended beneficiaries to determine our anticipated outcomes so that the Palliatives get into the hands of people directly.” she said, adding that our Interventions were methodical with stated Distribution Timelines to all State & Non State Actors to aid the efficient implementation and completion of the Interventions.
The VSF COVID-19 Task Force was inaugurated by the Chairman of the Victims Support Fund, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (RTD) in April 2020 and is in the 3rd Phase of the upcoming Interventions, they will be setting up Boreholes and Hand Washing/Sanitation Facilities to some Low-cost Public Secondary Schools nationwide as Schools re-open to prevent community transmission of Coronavirus within Students and Teachers.
As part of its contribution to national efforts to fight COVID-19, the Task Force said it was mandated to provide palliative measures to Internally Displaced Persons and other vulnerable groups around the country.