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ActionAid, CISLAC urge transparency in COVID-19 spending

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Two groups, ActionAid Nigeria and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), have raised concern over emergency spending on COVID-19, calling for transparency and accountability.

They raised their fears in two separate reactions to the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines by India to Nigeria on Tuesday and the plan to begin vaccination of Nigerians on Saturday, beginning with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo.

ActionAid said: “Although the Framework for the Management of COVID-19 Funds was established, emergency spending creates opportunity for corruption to thrive as seen in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). We call on the Federal Government’s anti-corruption agencies to ensure implementation of emergency fund management protocols and bring defaulters to book.

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“Government poverty alleviation programmes should also be implemented with utmost transparency and accountability. Full publication of allocation to tiers of government should done,” said Ms. Ene Obi, Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria.

The CISLAC Executive Director, Mr. Auwal Musa RafSanjani, called on the authorities in Nigeria to ensure transparency in the distribution of the vaccination to ensure probity and accountability.

“Transparency International Nigeria is pleased to learn that Nigeria has received about 3.9 million doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and the multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

“CISLAC thanks the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX) scheme formed to ensure fair access to vaccines for low and middle-income states. This initiative led by the World Health Organization will ensure that no country is left behind.

“The Nigerian government, through the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force (PTF) and the Ministry of Health, its related departments and agencies, must ensure that the distribution and vaccination process is transparent and accountable to the public.

“The distribution of the COVID-19 palliatives has not been without challenges. Nigerians saw diversion and hoarding of palliatives that showed abuse of power. We encourage the law enforcement agencies to investigate COVID-19 relief abuses and corruption allegations. We, along with other partners, have repeatedly pointed at credible allegations of corruption and abuse of power.”

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