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SERAP sues Ministry of Health and NCDC over failure to account for Covid-19 funds

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SERAP Covid-19 funds Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu Dr Osagie Ehanire

SERAP sues Ministry of Health and NCDC over failure to account for Covid-19 funds

Human Rights organization, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP),  has filed a lawsuit against Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, over “their failure to account for the public funds and other resources so far spent and used to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.”

 

The suit comes after SERAP made a Freedom of Information (FoI) request on 27 March 2020 to the Minister of Health and the NCDC, expressing “concern that lack of transparency in the use of the funds and resources to combat COVID-19 would lead to diversion or mismanagement of funds and resources, unnecessarily cost lives, and result in serious damage to public health in the country.”
According to the suit, SERAP wants the Health Ministry and the NCDC to reveal details received from the private sector, state and federal governments, and also reveal how the funds have been used in the fight against the Covid-19 disease in Nigeria.

Publishing details of the lawsuit on it’s website, SERAP with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/616/2020 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP seeks:

1.“An order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and compel the Minister of Health and the NCDC to publish details of the funds and resources from federal and state governments, and the private sector, as well as details of how the funds and resources have so far been spent and used to combat COVID-19.”

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2.  “An order of mandamus to direct and compel the Federal Government to disclose information on the exact number of tests that have been carried out for high-ranking public officials and politicians, the number of any such high-ranking public officials and politicians now in self-isolation or quarantine, as well as the exact number of tests that have been carried out for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

According to SERAP’s lawsuit: “Transparency in the use of COVID-19 money would help to reduce the risk of corruption or opportunism, build trust and engage Nigerians in the fight against coronavirus as well as safe lives. Transparency and accountability are important to implementing an effective response to COVID-19 and slowing the spread of the virus in the country.”
“Nigerians have the right to know the details of spending of COVID-19 money, as this is essential to the fight against corruption, and will foster the development of democratic institutions and the rule of law in Nigeria.”

“Millions of Nigerians continue to lack access to an improved water source and to proper sanitation, thereby making them vulnerable to COVID-19 and other illnesses. Yet, the Ministry of Health and the NCDC have failed and/or refused to disclose whether there is any collaborative work with the Ministry of Water Resources to provide vulnerable Nigerians with safe water, sanitation, and hygienic conditions.” SERAP continued in the lawsuit by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Atinuke Adejuyigbe, and Opeyemi Owolabi

According to SERAP, some politicians have been taking multiple tests as NCDC has been prioritizing home testing the high and mighty while leaving the most vulneable without tests..

According to SERAP,  there have been reports of lack of transparency in use of Covid relief funds so the government has no justifiable reason to deny SERAP the information it’s requesting.

“The information SERAP is seeking to access is permitted under the Freedom of Information Act 2011 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“The Federal Government has a legal duty to ensure that information on the spending of COVID-19 money and resources is released to SERAP and widely published. It is not too much to ask for details of measures to protect health workers and procedures put in place to ensure that COVID-19 money is not diverted, mismanaged or stolen.”

“The Federal Government has no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide SERAP with the information requested, and therefore, this court ought to grant SERAP the order directing and compelling the Federal Government to publish details of spending of COVID-19 money.”

“There are reports of lack of transparency in the use of the funds and resources being mobilised to combat coronavirus, and that authorities are prioritising home testing of politicians, with some reportedly taking multiple tests. Politicians engaging in multiple tests for coronavirus have in turn slowed the number of tests for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

“The suit is in the public interest, as it bothers on issues of national interest, public welfare and interest, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability. Obedience to the rule of law particularly by those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law.”

“Nigerians are entitled to know how the commonwealth is being utilized, managed and administered in a democratic setting, as this positively influences the feeling of belonging in the society. This right to know will no doubt help in promoting a transparent democracy, good governance and public accountability.”

According to SERAP’s official Twitter account, the organization  is seeking the following reliefs:

An order granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review and seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the Respondents to provide and disclose the following information to the Applicant:
A. Details of exact funds and other resources allocated by the Nigerian authorities and private sector donations to the Respondents to improve Nigeria’s health facilities to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria;

B. Details of spending and planned spending of any such funds, other resources and donations to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria;

C. Details of efforts made by the Second Respondent to make NCDC’s website functional and accessible and to publish weekly spending on initiatives by the NCDC, including on NCDC’s website;

D. Details of processes and procedures put in place to ensure that the funds, other resources and donations allocated to combat COVID-19 are not diverted, mismanaged or stolen;

E. Details of measures to protect health workers and to encourage the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people to come forward for testing and to escalate testing for this group;

F. The exact number of tests that have been carried out for high-ranking public officials and politicians, the number of any such high-ranking public officials and politicians now in self-isolation or quarantine, as well as the exact number of tests that have been carried out for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

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NCDC – 626 New Cases of Coronavirus Confirmed In Nigeria

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NCDC New Cases of Coronavirus

NCDC – 626 New Cases of Coronavirus Confirmed In Nigeria

Nigeria on Thursday, July 2, recorded 626 new cases of Coronavirus as confirmed in a tweet shared by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). 

 

A breakdown of the new cases across different states in the country is as follows; Lagos-193, FCT-85, Oyo-41, Edo-38, Kwara-34, Abia-31, Ogun-29, Ondo-28, Rivers-26, Osun-21, Akwa Ibom-18, Delta-18, Enugu-15, Kaduna-13, Plateau-11, Borno-8, Bauchi-7, Adamawa-5, Gombe-4, Sokoto-1.

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As at July 2, there are 27,110 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country. 10,801 patients have been discharged and 616 deaths has been recorded.

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193 Almajiria Test Positive For COVID-19 In Kano State

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Kano State Almajiria Test Positive For COVID-19

193 Almajiria Test Positive For COVID-19 In Kano State

A total of 193 Almajiris in Kano State have so far tested positive to COVID 19, according to the Kano state government.

Speaking at the COVID-19 press briefing held, Thursday, July 2, Kano State Commissioner of Education, Sanusi Mohammed Kiru disclosed that a total of 1860 persons were quarantined in three locations in the state, out of which 193 of them tested positive.

 

Sanusi who is also the head of the state government’s committee on the rehabilitation of almajiris, explained that 86 of them tested positive at Gabasawa Quarantine camp, 68 tested positive in Karaye while 38 tested positive in Kiru.

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He expressed happiness at the initiative to isolate the almajiris in the state, adding that state efforts at tackling the dreaded disease would have been worse off if they were allowed to continue to spread the disease in these communities.

 

He recalled that so far the state has repatriated a total of 1183 Almajirs to the rest of the states in the region such as Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe, Bauchi, Kebbi, and Zamfara States in line with the decision of the Northern Governors forum to end street begging in the region.

 

He further disclosed that the state government had established three almajiri boarding schools for the immediate admission of the Almajiris of Kano State orIgin, saying that these schools are located in Bunkure, Bagwai and Madobi Local Government Areas.

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President Buhari Suspends NSITF Boss, Others

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NSITF Boss Buhari

President Buhari Suspends NSITF Boss, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate and indefinite suspension from Office of the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Mr Adebayo Somefun.

Sen Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, in a statement by Charles Akpan of the Press and Public Relations in the ministry, named other officers suspended to include Jasper Ikedi-Azuatalam, Executive Director (ED), Finance and Investment, and Mrs Olukemi Nelson, ED, Operations.

Also suspended are Alhaji Tijani Darazo Sulaiman, ED, Administration, Mr Olusegun Olumide-Bashorun, General Manager, Administration/Human Resources/Maintenance, and Mr Lawan Tahir, General Manager, Finance.

Others asked to go are Mr Chris Esedebe, General Manager, Claims and Compensation, Mr Olodotun Adegbite, Deputy General Manager, Investment and Treasury Management, and Mr Emmanuel Enyinnaya-Sike, Deputy General Manager, Finance and Accounts.

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The statement also named Mrs Olutoyin Arokoyo, Deputy General Manager/Acting Head, Legal, Ms. Dorathy Zajeme-Tukura, Deputy General Manager, Administration, and Mrs Victoria Ayantuga, Assistant General Manager, Internal Audit.

The minister said that their suspension from office arose from the “preliminarily established prima facie infractions on the extant Financial Regulations and Procurement Act, and other acts of gross misconduct”.

“During the period of their suspension, the officers will face a Joint Board and Audit Investigative Panel that had been set up to look into the financial and procurement breaches, as well as gross misconduct in the NSITF from 2016 to date.

“The gross misconduct has invariably put the contributions of stakeholders in a perilous state. The affected officers have also been directed to hand over to the most senior officers in their respective departments,” the statement said.

It quoted Ngige as specifically directing that Dr Kelly Nwagha, General Manager. Health, Safety and Environment Department, to assume the position of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, being the most senior General Manager in the organisation.

It said that officers assuming the new positions would take charge from Monday, July 6, 2020, until further notice.

Ngige charged the Chairman of the Board, Mr Austin Enajemo Isire, to ensure that the investigative panel commenced work as soon as possible.

He also charged him to ensure that the Board facilitated the smooth running of the Fund by creating the enabling environment and all the necessary staff adjustments and movements, in order to guarantee that services by staff to the contributors were not affected.

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#COVID19NIGERIA Situation Report

http://news.ncbn.ng/2020/06/04/coronavirus-and-the-adversity-of-the-asymptomatic-bala-ibrahim/

@Africa CDC

The African Union and Africa CDC will virtually rollout the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) in Africa tomorrow 4 June, 2020 at 11.00 am Eastern Africa Time.

The African Union and Africa CDC will virtually rollout the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) in Africa tomorrow 4 June, 2020 at 11.00 am Eastern Africa Time.

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"Also found worthy of honour was Bashir Abubakar, an Asst Comptroller-General of Customs, who rejected a bribe of $412,000 per container offered him by drug traffickers seeking to bring 40 containers of Tramadol into Nigeria. A fine example of incorruptibility, worthy of emulation"

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