FG – We Have Spent N31 Billion To Fight COVID-19 In Nigeria

FG – We Have Spent N31 Billion To Fight COVID-19 In Nigeria

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FG – We Have Spent N31 Billion To Fight COVID-19 In Nigeria

Federal Government has disclosed that it has spent N31 billion in four months to fight coronavirus in the country.

According to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, the amount spent so far represents 84% of the N36.3 billon public funds and donations received to respond to COVID-19 between April 1 and July 31.

In the statement released by the Accountant-General of the Federation in response to the Freedom of Information request dated August 10, and sent to him by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Connected Development (CODE), it was gathered that there is now a balance of N5.9 billion from the donation.

In response, Kolawole Oluwadare, Deputy Director of SERAP and Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive of CODE , in a letter dated September 4, addressed to the Account General, lamented that his office did not provide a breakdown on how the money was spent.

The reply by the groups, reads in part;

We welcome your demonstrated commitment to transparency and accountability, and hope other public officials and institutions would emulate and learn from the good example you have shown by honoring and respecting FoI Act as a matter of routine and practice.

This is a huge lesson for public officials and politicians about the idea of public service to one’s country. It also sends a powerful message about the need for politicians to see public office as an opportunity to serve and give something back to the country, and not a place to mismanage, steal or divert the people’s commonwealth into private pockets for personal benefits.

The groups stressed;

However, we also note that the documents sent to us do not contain other significant details as indicated in our FoI request dated 10 August, 2020, including details and breakdown of the number of Nigerians who directly or indirectly have benefited from the spending, and details on plans to spend the balance of N5.9 billion in the COVID-19 Eradication Support Accounts.

We note among others that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22 billion, and 36 states spent N7 billion to support their COVID-19 initiatives. We also note that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) spent N877 million for deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations; while the Nigeria Police spent N500 million on personal protective equipment. N17,865.09 was paid as bank charges.

It is refreshing to note that 115 ordinary Nigerians donated between N1 and N100 to support the authorities’ efforts to fight COVID-19, despite the fact that it is the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of the population that continue to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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They concluded;

We would be grateful if the requested details and additional information are provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP and CODE shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to compel you to comply with our request.

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