Federal and State Governments have been enjoined to ensure transparency in the management of the over N30 billion donated by different groups and institutions towards the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
A coalition of several civil society organizations in Nigeria, under the leadership of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), urged all the tiers of government to ensure the funds were disbursed in an open and transparent manner.
The Chairman of HEDA, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, said in the statement that was signed by 25 other civil society organizations: “We appreciate all the contributors and donors in the emergency funds and materials in response to the pandemic. The best that can happen is accountability. No one should be encouraged to profit from the current human misery. We urge all government Ministries, Departments and Agenciess and special task force to uphold procurement and operational standards and policies in procurement, awards and payments of services and distribution of materials.”
The coalition also said the outbreak of COVID-19 has exposed the helplessness of millions of poor Nigerians especially in a time of adversary.
Members of the coalition include but not limited to Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Women Advocacy Research and Documentation Centre
(WARD-C), Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), Civil Society Network Against Corruption, (CSNAC), HURIDAC, Green Peoples Environmental Network (GREPNET), Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC), COPEAIDS Foundation, a health-concern rights group, Civil Society Coalition for Mandate Protection, (CSCMAP), HELP Center for Development, amongst others.
Suraju said the coalition is monitoring the donations and would do a technical evaluation of the governments’ disbursement and expenditure in the nearest future.
The groups also wanted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) to be included in the Federal Government’s NEC Special Committee on COVID-19 that is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Presidential Task Force led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, in order to strengthen the mechanism for public accountability and transparency.