Opposition African Action Congress (AAC) has called on the Federal Government to ensure transparency in the management of COVID-19 funds and donations it received from local and foreign donors for the fight against the dreaded COVID 19 pandemic .
The party in a statement it issued Thursday in Abuja, warned that the $27.16 billon COVID-19 fund domiciled at the Treasury Single Account of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), other funds and donations received by government to fight Coronavirus pandemic and provide palliatives to the populace should be judiciously managed and properly accounted for by the Accountant General of the Federation, as well as other relevant agencies and Presidential Task Force set up to control its spread.
AAC National Chairman, Leonard Nzenwa in the statement, noted that “Nigerians are saddened by the poor handling of the social intervention funds, conditional cash transfer and palliatives to indigent compatriots which gave room for corruption and neglect of the very vulnerable people they were meant to serve,” while expressing the Party’s regret that to note, no government official has been able to respond positively and satisfactorily to query directed at ascertaining the exact amount received for the fight against COVID 19.
“AAC calls for stoppage of repatriation of Almajiris to other States by Governors as it increases the spread of COVID-19 across the country. The Almajiris should be tested in the States they reside, if found positive should be quarantined and treated while the rest should be kept in a camp and efforts made to locate their parents who will identify and take them home. We must realize that these are fellow Nigerians who must be treated with compassion and dignity
“The recent protest by Coronavirus patients from two isolation centres in Gombe who blocked the Gombe-Biu highway complaining of negligence and poor treatment by Gombe State Task Force on COVID-19 is the height of absurdity in the management of those infected by the virus and questions the nation’s preparedness to contain it.
“Government at all levels must ensure that victims of the virus are adequately cared for. To dump fellow citizens at isolation centres without proper medical treatment is unfair, unjust, despicable and detestable. It is man’s inhumanity to man and a flagrant violation of Section 14(2)b of the 1999 Constitution which provides; “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”. Nigerians demand and deserve better treatment from their own government.
“The shortage of testing kits and isolation centres as lamented by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is an indication that the Federal Government is not serious to address the COVID-19 pandemic despite billions of dollars donated for that purpose.” the party noted
The AAC Chairman, who doubles as chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), further urged the Federal Government to stop further local and foreign loan requests and make judicious use of the $311 million recently recovered from the Late General Sani Abacha and trillions of naira recovered from past and present public office holders in Nigeria and abroad. Despite its anti corruption posturing, it is unfortunate that Federal Government is not upright in managing the nation’s resources which casts doubt in its ability to judiciously utilize any loans obtained as majority of Nigerians have not derived dividends of democracy since the Buhari administration came to power in May 2015.