Follow The Money, a Civil Society Organisation has called on the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 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 CSO said in a statement made available to The ICIR.
“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 inefficiency.”
The statement was its reaction to ‘the discovery of government storehouses for COVID-19 palliatives and the looting spree of the food items and material resources across the country’.
Follow The Money said during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 57 Freedom of Information (FOI) request letters were received by 27 State Government agencies, requesting details of COVID-19 funds and the distribution of palliatives— only six responded.
The group said the six states that responded assured that the palliatives were distributed accordingly, even though they refused to provide details of distribution and evidence of the same.
“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, said Hamzat Lawal, the Founder of Follow The Money.
“This discovery further exposes the rot and persistent corruption in the Nigerian system.”
He added that the ‘Nigerian government continues to thwart the possibility of gaining the trust of its citizens, especially with its opacity and poor accountability, which have now snowballed into a mob action and heavy looting of COVID-19 palliatives’.
Lawal further stated that 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.