The Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed that it “spent N30,540,563,571.09, representing 84% of the N36.3 billon public funds and donations received to respond to COVID-19 between 1st April, 2020 and 31st July, 2020, leaving the balance of N5.9 billion.”
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris stated this in response to the Freedom of Information request dated 10 August, 2020 and sent to him by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Connected Development (CODE).
In the reply to Mr Idris dated 4th September 2020, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare and CODE Chief Executive Hamzat Lawal, the organizations said: “We note among others that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22 billion; and 36 states spent N7 billion to support their COVID-19 initiatives.” The groups said: “We also note that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) spent N877 million for deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations; while the Nigeria Police spent N500 million on personal protective equipment. N17,865.09 was paid as bank charges.”
The reply by the groups, read in part: “However, we also note that the documents sent to us do not contain other significant details as indicated in our FoI request dated 10 August, 2020, including details and breakdown of the number of Nigerians who directly or indirectly have benefited from the spending, and details on plans to spend the balance of N5.9 billion in the COVID-19 Eradication Support Accounts.”
“It is refreshing to note that 115 ordinary Nigerians donated between N1 and N100 to support the authorities’ efforts to fight COVID-19, despite the fact that it is the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of the population that continue to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This is a huge lesson for public officials and politicians about the idea of public service to one’s country. It also sends a powerful message about the need for politicians to see public office as an opportunity to serve and give something back to the country, and not a place to mismanage, steal or divert the people’s commonwealth into private pockets for personal benefits.”
“We welcome your demonstrated commitment to transparency and accountability, and hope other public officials and institutions would emulate and learn from the good example you have shown by honouring and respecting FoI Act as a matter of routine and practice.