By Dayo Johnson, Akure
Artisans in Ondo state have kicked against the decision of the Federal government to unilaterally reduce the number of its enumerated members to benefit from the COVID-19 Survival Fund fund in the state.
They expressed worries that the Federal government reduced the number to 2500 from 4500 enumerated and have been assured that they would benefit from the fund.
Addressing newsmen in Akure, the artisans’ President, Akomolafe Daisi and its Secretary general Bamidele Omode accused the Federal government of insincerity in the disbursement of the fund in the state.
The leaders however cleared the official of the state government who is the state focal person for the Survival Fund, Mrs Stella Kosemani Kolawole of the allegation of diverting the funds to her church members as alleged by some of its members.
Daisi pointed out that “even the 2500 that they have reduced it to without informing us have not even received the alert of the fund.
” We are not happy that the Federal government reduced the number of the beneficiaries of the fund from the 4500 members that were enumerated to just 2500 without even informing us in the state.
” To our surprise, not all 2500 have even received alert of the fund. Less than two percent of those enumerated have been paid so far.
” Artisans in Ondo state consist of 97 associations and we have over 360,000 membership. Now they are only considering 2500 to benefit from the fund.
“The last protest by our members was due to the information available to us that the fund had been diverted to people that are not members of the group.
” After the protest, the state government met with us and explained the details to us. It was then that we knew that nobody hijacked the fund to members of any church.
Also speaking, the lead enumerator, Alaba Akinlaja said that his team enumerated 4500 from both the association and the public.
Akinlaja said, ” Ours is to enumerate and the payment is made by the Bank of Industry BOI.
“We never enumerated church members only artisans and others from the public were enumerated from across the 18 council area of the state.
Akinlaja who appealed to the members to exercise patience said that those enumerated would benefit from the fund. End