Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate the alleged misuse of the N4.5 billion donations, loans and support the Kogi State Government obtained from the federal government, including N90,720, 000 reportedly spent on software to track COVID-19 cases in the state.
The organisation in a statement signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, expressed concerns about growing allegations of corruption and mismanagement of public funds in many states of the federation, and the apparent lack of thorough and transparent investigations allowing suspected perpetrators to frequently escape justice.
SERAP said taking prompt action to probe the allegations would promote transparency and accountability, serve the common good and good government of the federation, which includes Kogi State.
The organisation said if recommended measures are not taken within 14 days, legal actions will be taken to ensure compliance.
It said: “According to our information, the Kogi State Government in 2020 allegedly spent N90, 720, 000 on COVID-19 software. The software was reportedly approved by the state Governor, Yahaya Bello, to track COVID-19 cases and prevent the spread of the disease in the state. However, the company that developed the software has reportedly stated that it costs only N300, 000.
“The software has reportedly stopped functioning just one year after it was installed. The N90, 720, 000 spent on COVID-19 software is part of the N4.5 billion donations, loans and support, which Kogi State reportedly obtained from the federal government. Ensuring the investigation and prosecution of the allegations would also be entirely consistent with the provisions of section 15 subsection (5) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended.”