The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), says contrary the federal government’s claims that huge numbers of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people have benefited from its palliatives measures, millions have not benefited from the announced palliatives, donations, reported cash payments, cash transfers and other benefits.
The civil rights group has therefore demanded that the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria provide details of public funds and private sector donations spent so far as palliatives during the lockdown because of COVID-19.
It also in two Freedom of Information (FoI) requests demanded for details of beneficiaries of any cash payments, cash transfers, food distribution and other benefits during the lockdown in Abuja; Lagos and Ogun states because of COVID-19.
In the FoI requests sent to Ms Sadia Umar-Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, and Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, SERAP expressed the concerns that that millions of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people have not benefited from the announced palliatives, donations, reported cash payments, cash transfers and other benefits.
In the FoI requests dated 4 April, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Providing the information would help to address the concerns by many Nigerians regarding allegations of corruption and politicization in the distribution of benefits, improve public trust, and enhance the integrity of the entire processes and modes of distribution of reliefs/benefits to these Nigerians.”
“If we have not heard from you within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of the FoI requests, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our requests.
“According to our information, following the announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari of lockdown in Lagos and Ogun states and Abuja to reduce the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Federal Government reportedly started disbursing N20,000 Conditional Cash Transfer to each of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people at the Kwali Area Council of Abuja.
“According to reports, over 11 million of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people have been identified in 35 states to benefit from the Federal Government cash transfers and other palliatives and reliefs.
“We urge you to publish weekly spending details on COVID-19 relief funds and donations and the list of all beneficiaries.”