Looting Of COVID-19 Palliatives Exposes Rot In Nigeria –GroupAfrican News, Featured, Latest News, News Across Nigeria, News From The State Thursday, October 29th, 2020
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Follow The Money, an initiative of Connected Development (CODE) has declared that the discovery of government storehouses for COVID19 palliatives and the looting spree of the items across the country by hoodlums have further exposed the rot and persistent corruption in the Nigerian system.
The cardinal mission of Follow The Money is to advocate, visualize and track government spending and international aid with a view to letting the world know how effective it has been in the rural communities.
It should be recalled that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic early this year, the Follow The Money team across the 36 states of the Nigerian Federation has been tracking intervention funds and materials disbursed to state governments to cushion the impact of the pandemic.
Moreover, a total of 57 Freedom of Information (FOI) letters were received by 27 state government agencies, requesting details of COVID-19 funds and the distribution of palliatives – only 6 states responded, assuring that palliatives were distributed accordingly, even though they refused to provide details of distribution and evidence of the same.
The Founder of Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal said the discovery of palliatives hideouts further indicates a systemic failure in governance and a distrust in leadership.
“There is no reason why the distribution of these items should have been delayed, knowing that the coronavirus pandemic worsened the country’s economic situation and increased poverty level”, he added.
Lawal noted that the Nigerian government continues to thwart the possibility of gaining the trust of its citizens, especially with its opacity and poor accountability, which, according to him, has now materialised in a mob action and heavy looting of COVID19 palliatives.
He said there is an urgent need for the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to prioritise addressing the lapses identified from operational mistakes to gross mismanagement of logistics, leading to the mob action of palliatives looting.
He also called for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCCC) to investigate Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for the acquisition and distribution of COVID-19 palliative relief materials.
“The EFCC and the ICPC must thoroughly investigate procurement fraud and mishandling of COVID19-related funding and resources at State and Federal level, bringing culprits to justice.
“The National Assembly should also hold public hearings on the Palliatives looting and citizens properly briefed on outcomes. These public officials must be held accountable for the lapses in efficiency – a right step to rethinking governance in Nigeria. Citizens deserve better”, he stressed.
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