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Two CSOs Demand Explanations on How Nigerian Government Spent 30.5bn on COVID-19

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), as well as Connected Development (CODE), have asked the Federal Government of Nigeria to give the details of how it spent N30.5bn in four months to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) stated that they would like to know the specific items the funds were spent on and the beneficiaries.

The Deputy Director, SERAP, Kolawole Oludare, said in a statement on Sunday that the demand for details of the spending followed the reply of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, to an earlier Freedom of Information request jointly made by SERAP and CODE.

According to Oludare, the accountant-general, in an undated letter, told SERAP and CODE that the Federal Government spent N30,540,563,571.09 between April and July to tackle the pandemic.

He said the amount represented 84 per cent of the N36.3bn public COVID-19 funds and donations received by the Federal Government.

Idris said there was a balance of N5.9bn.

SERAP said the accountant-general’s letter indicated that “the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22bn; while the 36 states spent N7bn on COVID-19.”

It added that the Nigerian Air Force spent N877m on the deployment of assets in support of COVID-19 operations; the police spent N500m on personal protective equipment; while N17,865.09 was paid as bank charges.

While commending Idris for honouring the FoI request, SERAP and CODE, however, urged him to respond to other information requested in the FoI letter, including the specific projects on which the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 spent N22bn and the list of Nigerians, who benefitted from the projects.

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