In continuation of its educative programs on Covid19 in Nigeria, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) held its 33rd twitter chat on the 30th of July, 2020. The guest was Dr. Jide Ojo, a development consultant, author and a public affairs analyst on the topic “How Corruption is Undermining the Fight against COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria”. Dr. Jide started the chat by responding to the question on how deeply corruption has interfere with fight against Covid19 in Nigeria. According to him, the issue of corruption during this COVID-19 pandemic is very heart rending. He said Even Nigerians have queried the FG’s spending on this COVID-29 palliatives especially the homegrown school feeding program. He further stated that if you have been following the news, you would have heard of the N1.32bn NDDC claimed to have spent on COVID-19 palliatives. He went further to cited some examples of states with Covid 19 related cases, among the examples was a case of a Councilor in Niger State who diverted 6 bags of rice and other grains given to him for distribution to personal use.
Another one was, few days ago, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly decided to probe over N500m allegedly spent by the State Task Force on COVID-19 headed by the Deputy Governor. He also talked about some allegations level against the federal government, he said all manner of breach of procurement processes were committed due to the emergency nature of containment of COVID-19. Till date, none can say categorically how much cash and in-kind donations have been received by the FG or States on this COVID-19. Yet a lot of donations were received.
Another corruption allegations levelled against the FG is how the Social Register for the 3.6m beneficiaries were compiled and why the distribution across the states was lopsided in favor of some northern states. He said it is also believed that cash disbursement to the beneficiaries of N20, 000 conditional cash transfer is prone to corruption and that payment should have been made via their bank accounts. He also highlights that is it not shocking that Federal Ministry of Agriculture is allegedly doing the procurement for the Federal Ministry of Health. He said this was brought to his attention during a radio program, if this is true, he said it is sad!
In answering a question on what strategies can support civil society anti-corruption and social accountability initiatives during & after the pandemic, he responded by saying that “We need to document and follow through some of the public announcement on donations and make an independent compilation”
He stated that in fairness to the FG, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 was more forthcoming with information on donations than many of their state counterparts.
He also faulted the government by saying that all manner of breach of procurement processes were committed due to the emergency nature of containment of COVID-19.
He made some recommendations which include:
The civil society and the media owe it a duty to follow through some of the alleged sharp practices and malpractices that have been committed during this Covid-19 pandemic.
Secondly we need to document and follow through some of the public announcement on donations and make an independent compilation.