The administration of the COVID-19 support fund has drawn criticism for its lack of openness and accountability from stakeholders and civil society organizations.
They said that a lack of openness in the handling of the money had led to several corruption charges around the COVID-19 funding administration.
According to the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal (OCOPO) for the COVID-19 Emergency Procurement, a contractor received N97.6 million from the COVID-19 intervention fund to supply chlorine-based chemicals to the FCT COVID-19 center, and the Primary Healthcare Development Agency received another N22 million to purchase facemasks.
A total of N31 million was spent on the printing and distribution of flip charts on COVID-19 for community volunteers in the states of Kaduna, Kano, and Jigawa.
A total of N50 million was spent on the distribution of infrared thermometers in the North Central Zone. A total of N42 million was spent on the distribution of regular facemask in the states of the South West, South South, and South East. A total of 330 infrared thermometers were distributed to the
It’s interesting to note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, millionaires in Nigeria had a 38 percent increase in wealth, while 7.4 million Nigerians experienced terrible poverty.
The survey also showed that during the first two years of the pandemic, which has thrown 160 million people into poverty worldwide, the world’s 10 richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.3 billion, or $15,000 every second.
The Citizens Gavel COVID-19 accountability study in Oyo, Lagos, Niger, and the FCT revealed that funds received during the period cannot be reconciled with the money spent by the government on relief efforts and the administration of vaccines, insisting that government has obviously not done enough to provide transparency and accountability in the management of Covid-19 funds.
In an interview with The Guardian, Oluwafemi Ajibade, the Operations Lead at Citizens Gavel, claimed that despite significant funding being set aside, not much has been done to lessen the impact of Covid-19 on Nigerians. Research indicates that there were inconsistencies, vaccine inequality, and financial mismanagement.
He emphasized the requirement for the government to be honest in its anti-corruption efforts, particularly in the COVID-19 resource management process, as many people see it as a means of generating quick cash.
Ajibade bemoaned the fact that the government has not put much effort into ensuring the management of COVID-19 funds, claiming that even though the ICPC has some COVID-19-related cases pending in court that the effort is still insufficient because people will sit up when they see the government’s sincerity in combating corruption cases.
He mentioned that after conducting the study, the group sent seven petitions to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) citing some of their results in the states, but the response they got was uninspiring.
Similar concerns have been expressed by David Ugolo, Executive Director of the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), regarding the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) use of the Special Drawing Right fund (SDR), which has been shrouded in secrecy with no information in the public domain by the Federal Government and no parliamentary coverage of the SDR issue in Nigeria.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic was not anticipated by the government, CSOs, or even the media, which led to a lack of preparation, according to Mr. Debo Adeniran, chairman of the Center for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL). He emphasized the importance of the government anticipating such outbreaks in order to be able to stop them in their tracks.
He emphasized the necessity for CSOs to continuously track donations made by both private and international donor agencies, adding that it is important for CSOs to investigate what and how the donations are dispersed to the population.