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Failure to name beneficiaries of COVID-19 palliatives signals mismanagement- SERAP

THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) says failure by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide names of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 funds and private donations violates the Framework for the Management of COVID-19 Funds in Nigeria.

Quoting the Framework put together by the Office of the Attorney General of Federation (AGF) and Ministry of Finance, SERAP said “It is mandatory for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to provide information on all COVID-19 Fund transactions to any member of the public under the FOI within seven days of receiving the request.

The Framework also states: “Failure to publish timely report of COVID-19 activities and spending in response to FOI request will constitute early warning signs of mismanagement and shall be deemed as contravention of this Guideline,” SERAP said in a Twitter message on Friday.

It stated that the ministry and the CBN have shown early warning signs of mismanagement by their refusal to make public details of spending on COVID-19 palliatives.

“Therefore, in the words of the Guideline, the failure by @FMHDSD @cenbank  to NAME BENEFICIARIES of COVID-19 funds and private donations “constitute early warning signs of mismanagement” and is “deemed a contravention of the Guideline,” it said.

The ICIR reported that SERAP  filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government and the CBN asking them to publicly identify and name Nigerians who have so far benefited from any cash payments, cash transfers, food distribution and other reliefs and palliatives during the lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states because of COVID-19.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/657/2020 filed  at a Federal High Court, Abuja SERAP requested for “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to compel  Sadia Umar-Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, and  Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, to publish spending details of public funds and private sector donations to provide socio-economic benefits to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Also in April the organization gave a seven-day ultimatum to the 36 state governors to respond to its requests to urgently provide information on spending details on COVID-19 in their respective states.

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