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
Firm Donates COVID-19 Safety Kits To Ekiti Govt
A private firm, Wemmy Industries Limited on Friday, donated facemasks and other COVID-19 safety item to Ekiti State Government to curb the spread of the virus.
The items included 108 cartons of disposable surgical facemasks and 72 cartons of antiseptic hand wipes.
Mr John Egbedofo, Southwest Regional Manager of the firm said that the donation was in fulfillment of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Egbedofo added that the focus was to contribute to efforts at curtailing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
He said the gesture would also be extended to severe medical facilities in the state including the Oba Adejugbe General Hospital in Ado Ekiti, Specialist hospitals in Ikole Ekiti and Ikere Ekiti.
Also to benefit are Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti and Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti.
Receiving the items on behalf of the government in Ado-Ekiti, the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Oyebanji Filani, said the medical consumables and personal protective equipment would assist in tackling communicable diseases.
Filani appreciated the company for the gesture and assured that the items would be used judiciously towards achieving the desired results.
He solicited the continued support of more corporate bodies, NGOs and individual philanthropists towards improving the lot of the people.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Akinjide Akinleye, described the donation as laudable and worthy of emulation by similar business outfits.
When Leaving Office, I Decided Not To ‘Remote-Control’ My Successor – Dickson
The immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has explained why he distanced himself from the administration of Governor Douye Diri.
His explanation came amidst speculations that all was not well between him and Diri.
In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, Dickson, who represents Bayelsa West in the Senate, stated that it was his decision before exiting office to give whoever succeeded him the freedom to govern.
He said, “No one has a greater stake in the governor’s success than me. I am aware of the concerns raised about the distance I have kept since leaving office. This is deliberate and in consonance with my values and principles.
“While I was governor I took a conscious decision that whoever was going to succeed me was going to have the free hand to run his government with my full support. I am not one of those who believe that a governor should be remote-controlled.
“A governor should be free to take actions and decisions to pursue programmes, projects and policies he believes in. A governor must be in charge and I have always encouraged Governor Diri to take charge and to also take responsibility at all time.
“In the process, where he deems it, he can consult stakeholders for their inputs and advice and that the governor does with me and others.
This is why we did not enter into any agreement nor give the governor any condition for my and our full and total support other than to do his best for the state and the Ijaw nation and in doing so, he has our continuous support.”
Akeredolu Orders Recitation Of Oodua Anthem In Schools
The Ondo State Government has made it compulsory for all pupils and students in the state to recite the Oodua Anthem in their schools .
The order reportedly affects all the private and public institutions from primary to tertiary level in the state.
This was contained in a circular sent to all stakeholders from the state Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The circular was signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Akin Asaniyan.
The circular, titled ‘Recitation of Oodua Anthem in all schools’, was made available to our correspondent on Thursday in Akure.
It read in part,“Please note that, at the just concluded inter-schools debate and award ceremony organised by Ondo State Ministry of Education Science and Technology, held on Thursday February 25, 2021, at the International Culture and Event Center (The Dome) , Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, announced that the state has adopted the Oodua Anthem and it is to be recited by the residents of the state.
“In the light of this development, Mr Governor has directed that the anthem is now compulsory in all public and private schools ( primary and secondary), as well as tertiary institutions in the state, to be recited by all students and teachers henceforth.”
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