© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
COVID-19: CSOs commence nationwide monitoring of FG, states’ palliatives and donations
THE Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA ) in collaboration with the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARD-C) have deployed volunteers across the country to monitor the distribution of COVID-`19 palliatives to vulnerable Nigerians.
According to a press statement issued by Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of HEDA and Abiola Akiode-Afolabi, “the volunteers will produce a comprehensive report covering strategic areas using jointly developed questionnaire tools designed to meet global best practices.”
The statement disclosed that volunteers were expected to monitor and evaluate the COVID-19 palliatives and utilization of the various intervention funds received by state and federal governments to combat the pandemic.
“Nigeria had seen a string of intervention funds ranging from private donations, local and international funds estimated to be in billions of naira in cash and other materials, including food and medicare,” they said.
The group submitted that as of last week, funds raised at home stood at N25.8billion apart from the N21billion European Union (EU) support and donations material from China.
The civil rights groups added that despite the generous donations and on-going disbursements there has been no transparency framework at the federal and state levels on fund utilization.
They noted that many Nigerians have been in hardship since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly since government started to restrict movement and lockdown states.
“Yet, reports from the field also indicate that despite the huge donations and support to government, many deserving and indigent Nigerians are yet to receive any real relief or support.”
“It would then amount to great injustice to keep people in the dark or fail to publicly account for the spending, particularly in a country where corruption remains rife, ” Suraju and Abiola Akiode stated.
The CSOs said they were out to assist the people and the government in identifying red flags or opportunity for corruption in the process.
They added that in cases where the funds are already diverted or mismanaged by corrupt elements in government, they would ensure that the looted public funds are recovered and perpetrators adequately prosecuted.
“This is why we are not just evaluating the impact, we are equally monitoring implementation through the tools that will be administered by the volunteers,” the said.
According to the groups, the reports of the monitoring and evaluation, with its findings, observations and recommendations would be made available for public engagement and addressed to affected governments and agencies while suspected cases of corruption would be forwarded to the relevant anti-corruption agencies for investigation and prosecution.