By Princely Onyenwe, Imo
Report from a reliable source has revealed the position of SERAP as it affects hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives by some state governors in Nigeria.
The report has it that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate circumstances surrounding the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses in several states, which ought to have been distributed to the poorest and most vulnerable people during the lockdown.
The organisation also asked the commission to publish the outcome of any such investigation.”
SERAP’s petition followed reports that some people have discovered and taken away COVID-19 palliatives stored in warehouses in several states.
SERAP, in the petition sent to Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, ICPC, asked the commission to “ensure the prompt and effective prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible, if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of hoarding and diversion of the palliatives.”
In the petition dated October 24, 2020, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “It would seem that Nigerian authorities asked people to stay at home as a protective lockdown measure but then failed to discharge a legal responsibility to timely, effectively, and transparently distribute COVID-19 palliatives to ease the hardship faced by the poorest and most vulnerable people.
“Unless promptly investigated, the allegations of hoarding and diversion would undermine public trust in any efforts to bring the spread of the pandemic under control, exacerbate the negative impact of the crisis, and deny those most in need access to basic necessities of life.”
SERAP argued: “Tracking, monitoring, and ensuring COVID-19 palliatives are timely, effectively, and efficiently distributed to those most in need would improve transparency and accountability, respect for human rights, as well as remove the possibility of political considerations or bribery in the distribution of the palliatives.”
SERAP also urged the ICPC to visit the states where COVID-19 palliatives have been discovered in warehouses and to track and monitor the distribution of palliatives across the 36 states of the country, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to remove the risks of diversion and ensure that the palliatives get to those most in need, and not used for political or corrupt purposes.
Things must be done rightly for Nigeria to move forward.
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
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