This is in response to a letter by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) which asked the government to provide a breakdown of how it spent the N36.3 billion donations and fund received to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, N30.5 billion was spent within the said date and it represents 84 per cent of the total sum.
A further breakdown of the expenditure reveals that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22 billion while the 36 states spent a total of N7 billion.
Others include the Nigerian Air Force which spent N877 million for the deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations; the Nigeria Police Force spent N500 million on Personal Protective Equipment while about N18,000 was paid as bank charges.
But SERAP alleged that the document submitted does not contain other significant details as indicated in their Freedom of Information request, including details and breakdown of the number of Nigerians who directly or indirectly have benefited from the spending, and details on plans to spend the balance of N5.9 billion in the COVID-19 eradication support accounts.
See Full Statement Below:
‘How we spent N31bn in 4 months to fight COVID-19’, FG replies SERAP, CODE
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed that it “spent N30,540,563,571.09, representing 84% of the N36.3 billion public funds and donations received to respond to COVID-19 between 1st April 2020 and 31st July 2020, leaving the balance of N5.9 billion.”
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris stated this in response to the Freedom of Information request dated 10 August 2020 and sent to him by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Connected Development (CODE).
In the reply to Mr Idris dated 4th September 2020, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare and CODE Chief Executive Hamzat Lawal, the organizations said: “We note among others that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22 billion, and 36 states spent N7 billion to support their COVID-19 initiatives.”
The groups said: “We also note that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) spent N877 million for the deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations; while the Nigeria Police spent N500 million on personal protective equipment. N17,865.09 was paid as bank charges.”
The reply by the groups, read in part: “However, we also note that the documents sent to us do not contain other significant details as indicated in our FoI request dated 10 August 2020, including details and breakdown of the number of Nigerians who directly or indirectly have benefited from the spending, and details on plans to spend the balance of N5.9 billion in the COVID-19 Eradication Support Accounts.”
“It is refreshing to note that 115 ordinary Nigerians donated between N1 and N100 to support the authorities’ efforts to fight COVID-19, despite the fact that it is the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of the population that continue to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This is a huge lesson for public officials and politicians about the idea of public service to one’s country. It also sends a powerful message about the need for politicians to see public office as an opportunity to serve and give something back to the country, and not a place to mismanage, steal or divert the people’s commonwealth into private pockets for personal benefits.”
“We welcome your demonstrated commitment to transparency and accountability, and hope other public officials and institutions would emulate and learn from the good example you have shown by honouring and respecting FOI Act as a matter of routine and practice.”
“We would therefore be grateful to receive more specific details and additional information on the spending of N34.4bn between April and July, and details on plans to spend the balance of the balance of N5.9 billion in the COVID-19 Eradication Support Accounts.”
“Of the N36.3bn public funds and donations received, N1.4bn came from Nigerians and companies through accounts at the First Bank; Access Bank; GTB, Zenith, and UBA, while N536m donations were made through the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN]. The N536 donations comprise of N89m and N279m from the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.”
“In addition, China General Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria donated N48m; the Petroleum Equalization Management Board gave N50m while the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board donated N70m.”
“We would be grateful if the requested details and additional information are provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP and CODE shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to compel you to comply with our request.”
“We are writing to acknowledge receipt of the undated letter signed on your behalf by Mrs Odanwu Chizoba, from the Office of Accountant General of the Federation, but received 2nd September, 2020, on the above subject-matter in which the Federal Government provided some information on inflows and outflows of COVID-19 funds, drawn from COVID-19 Eradication Support Accounts. We appreciate your co-operation in this regard.”
Specifically, the groups are asking Mr Idris to provide to them with the following:
Details and breakdown of where the N34.4bn public funds from the Federal Government came from, and whether or not the money was duly appropriated by the National Assembly;
Details of specific projects and activities on which the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has spent the N22.16bn, which represents 72% of the money spent, including how the spending has directly or indirectly benefited Nigerians, as well as details of names of any such beneficiaries;
Details and breakdown of money, if any, spent to provide personal protective equipment to Nigerian doctors and medical workers who are at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19;
Details and breakdown of the N7bn given to 36 states, and the specific amount of money collected by each state. This money represents 23% of the total amount spent within 4 months;
Details and breakdown of the N877m [2.9% of the money] spent by the Nigerian Air Force for deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations, as well as the nature of any such operations;
Details and breakdown of the N500m [1.6% of the money] spent by the Nigeria Police on personal protective equipment;
“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation should also take steps to approach and request from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police Force, and the 36 states any of the details highlighted above, if the information is not held by your Office, in line with the provisions of the FoI Act.”
“Under the FoI Act, other public institution or institutions that may be holding the requested information are obligated to provide the information.”
“Please accept the expression of our highest consideration. Thanking you in advance of your urgent attention to the matter.”
SERAP Deputy Director
Agric Minister Shield’s Factional AFAN Leader From Police Invitation
The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, on Friday, 17th June, 2021 at the ICC (International Conference Centre), in Abuja prevented policemen on duty from taking factional leader of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Mr Farouk Rabiu for questioning on fraud related matters.
According to reliable sources and eye witnesses at the scene which was the venue of the 2021, Council on Agriculture, the police were there to invite Farouk to Force headquarters following a petition against him for acts that bordered on criminality.
Recently a federal high court sitting in Abuja had cautioned the renegade group led by Farouk through their lawyer, on Wednesday,15/2/2021, against parading themselves as leaders of AFAN until the matter is determined in court.
Farouk had been accused of defrauding investors using the name of AFAN Kano branch which he illegally registered, a matter which had been brought before the Corporate Affairs Commission, who revoked the registration.
However, Farouk has been continuously recognised as the leader of AFAN, by the Minister who hails from the same state with him despite several petitions from the Arc Kabir Ibrahim led executive.
The minister’s actions in siding with Farouk despite a case in court to resolve the leadership tussle of AFAN, has been allegedly linked to the minister’s shameful removal as chairman of AFAN Kano, long before he became appointed minister.
Witnesses at the scene stated that the minister after frantic efforts to get the Inspector General on phone to call off his men failed, resorted to giving an unhindered exit to Farouk in his official car, tantamount to obstruction of justice, much to the chagrin of the police officers.
A reliable source further disclosed that the policemen declined to follow the minister to his office.
Three Soldiers Injured as Troops Kill ISWAP Terrorists in Borno
Troops of the Nigerian Army under the Operation Hadin Kai have killed several ISWAP Terrorists in Dikwa town, Borno State.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, the gallant troops decisively dealt with the terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate the town on Tuesday.
The terrorist elements were said to have mounted five gun trucks, others mounted motorcycles, while others moved by foot.
They were, however, met with superior fire power by troops in conjunction with air bombardment by Air Task Force.
“The marauding terrorists were thoroughly vanquished forcing them to withdraw in high state of confusion abandoning their truck, guns and ammunition,” the statement read.
“During the encounter, six members of the terrorists groups were neutralized, several others were severely injured while the survivors withdrew in total disarray leaving behind their deceased colleagues”.
Three soldiers, however, sustained various degrees of injuries but have now been stabilised.
Items recovered during the encounter included one gun truck, eight AK 47 rifles, 40 rounds of 7.62mm Special, 39 special ammo, three motorcycles and six magazines.
To mop up the area, troops conducted exploitation in the early hours of Wednesday in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force and hunters along the terrorists’ withdrawal routes and recovered 90 rounds of 7.62 mm x 54 on links belonging to the fleeing terrorists.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Faruk Yahaya, has commended the gallant troops over the feat and charged them to remain resolute and steadfast.
He urged them to maintain the tempo in order to ensure total obliteration of terrorist groups within the North East region.
Onion Marketers Threaten to Stop Supply to Southern Nigeria
The Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria has threatened to stop the supply of onions down to the South from June 7, 2021.
The group said it would carry out the threat if the government fails to compensate its members who have suffered losses in recent times following attacks in some parts of the country.
President of the association, Aliyu Umar, made this known to journalists at a press briefing on Sunday in Sokoto State.
He explained that the government under a committee led by the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello had promised to compensate their members, many of whom suffered huge losses in Abia, Imo and Oyo States during the #EndSARS and Shasha market crisis.
However, according to him, the promise has not been kept and the members have reportedly lost over 4 billion naira.
“We are calling on the state and Federal Government to restore law and order in the state, and we are calling on the good people of the southern part of Nigeria to live with the Hausa community in peace as we are only there for our lawful businesses,” Umar said.
“We also call on state governments to collaborate with fed govt to set up a committee to investigate the incident that led to the loss of lives and property of the Onion Association members.
“Furthermore, if the government fails to adhere to what we are saying, we are shutting the supply of onion to the entire south by Monday the 7th of June 2021”.
In recent times, the price of Onions skyrocketed from just about ₦20,000 to nearly a hundred thousand, in less than a year – a situation which quickly gave it the reputation of ‘new gold’.
While the price hike could not be understood by many, some traders have attributed the increment to seasonal fluctuations, a general increase in prices of fertilizers among other items, strike actions as well as insecurity arising from the #EndSARS protests.
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