Prosecute Looters Of COVID-19 Fund, Palliatives – CACOL To ICPC

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has urged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to thoroughly probe the utilization of COVID-19 intervention fund and palliatives.

At the 2022 African Union Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja, ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN) announced that relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) would be investigated.

Owasanoye confirmed the commission observed discrepancies and infractions in the procurement and payments made by some MDAs after the release and disbursement of funds.

The ICPC chief added that reports indicated favouritism in the allocation and distribution of relief material or palliatives, as well as hijacking by political actors, their proxies, cronies and affiliates.

In a statement on Friday, CACOL Chairman, Debo Adeniran recalled that at the height of the pandemic, the body called on relevant anti-graft agencies to scrutinize spendings.

Nigeria was among the first set of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to identify coronavirus cases and implemented strict measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Adeniran said measures such as travel restrictions and lockdowns negatively affected the livelihoods and food security of most citizens, especially the lower and middle-class.

The activists said before the crisis, approximately 4 in 10 Nigerians were living below the poverty line and millions more were just above.

“Hence, it was so strange to notice the abysmal strategies adopted by agencies of government in the distribution of palliatives and spending of the intervention fund.

“We cannot forget the rate of hoarding and diversion of palliatives that led to the raids of facilities warehousing palliatives by impoverished people in different parts of the country.

“We at CACOL are happy that the ICPC is beaming its searchlight on these erring agencies, though it is coming a bit late but it is better late than never.

“We hope the anti-graft agency would carry out a thorough investigation of the agencies concerned and if found wanting, the officials involved should be made to face the full wrath of the law”, the statement added.

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