Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to instruct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to jointly track and monitor spending by federal agencies and state governors to combat Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
According to SERAP, this move would reduce the incidence of corruption and mismanagement in the Coronavirus outbreak.
The letter was signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare and made available to Channels TV.
It read in part, “Coronavirus crisis requires quick responses but it also requires corruption safeguards to ensure public funds are well spent, and promote access to basic public health and other services to those most in need.
“By prioritising transparency and accountability in the spending of funds to combat coronavirus, your government will be taking preventive measures to ensure that the efforts to reduce the spread of the pandemic and promote the health and safety of Nigerians are not compromised by corruption.”
SERAP also drew attention to the Nigerian health systems, which they described as ‘challenged’ and urged the government to quickly improve the sector so that the country could have a better-equipped response to such outbreaks.
The group observed the need to increase spending on efforts to combat the spread of the virus by setting up a COVID-19 Trust Fund to which wealthy individuals and corporate bodies could contribute, even while ensuring that all avenues of corruption are eliminated from the system.
“The EFCC and ICPC should ensure that anyone found to have mismanaged or stolen public funds meant for addressing the coronavirus pandemic are effectively prosecuted and punished,” it emphasized.
The group alluded to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and Liberia where patients reportedly paid bribes to access health services and urged the government to ensure that all Nigerians enjoy their right to health services, especially at these perilous times of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Why the need to monitor? Amidst mixed reactions, the National Assembly had on March 5, 2020, approved the release of N620 million to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), an amount budgeted for the emergency response to novel coronavirus.
A couple of weeks earlier, the Federal Government released N386 million in two batches, to two health agencies to strengthen Coronavirus (COVID19) preparedness in Nigeria and prevent an outbreak of the virus in the country.
Barely 7 days after the release of the first tranche, the first case of Coronavirus in Nigeria was confirmed in Lagos state.
Since then, several others have been detected and the total cases in Nigeria currently stand at 30.
COVID-19: FG to inaugurate 18-man vaccine task team
FG has announced plans to set up an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team with the responsibility to acquire and deploy vaccines in the country.
The Federal Government has announced through the Ministry of Health, that it will inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Monday by the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.
He revealed that the need for a task force comes as vaccines would be made available globally. The responsibilities of the task force include the acquisition and deployment of vaccines in the country.
“Now that vaccines are known to be close at hand, the Federal Ministry of Health is taking measures toward vaccine security, for which an 18-man National COVID-19 Vaccine Task Team with seven Terms of Reference (ToR) will be inaugurated.
“The ToR will include generating strategies for acquisition, deployment, and options for licensed production by Biovaccine Nigeria Ltd.
“Our options with WHO/GAVI led Covax facility remains our first line of engagement,” he added.
What you should know
After news of the Pfizer vaccine went viral, Nairametrics reported that the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigerians will benefit early from COVID-19 vaccines when the product is made available for commercial use. He revealed that any vaccine that is deemed fit for commercial use in treating coronavirus will be made available early to Nigerians.
Nairametrics also reported plans by the Nigerian government to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.
The G-20 nations announced a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that can’t afford it. The leaders also announced a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 23rd of November 2020, 56 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 66,439 confirmed cases.
On the 23rd of November 2020, 56 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 4,083 samples across the country.
To date, 66,439 cases have been confirmed, 62,241 cases have been discharged and 1,168 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 743,298 tests have been carried out as of November 22nd, 2020 compared to 739,215 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 23rd November 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 66,839
- Total Number Discharged – 62,076
- Total Deaths – 1,166
- Total Tests Carried out – 743,298
According to the NCDC, the 56 new cases were reported from 10 states- Kaduna (18), FCT (17), Lagos (6), Plateau (5), Kano (3), Kwara (2), Yobe (2), Ekiti (1), Niger (1), Rivers (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 22,968, followed by Abuja (6,515), Plateau (3,805), Oyo (3,703), Rivers (2,957), Kaduna (2,913), Edo (2,694), Ogun (2,153), Delta (1,823), Kano (1,773), Ondo (1,727), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,093), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,007), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (753), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (493), Nasarawa (485), Bayelsa (445), Ekiti (354), Jigawa (328), Akwa Ibom (319), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (156), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
ECOWAS COVID-19: Nigeria drops to 7th position in recovery rate
According to data from ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control, Nigeria has dropped to 7th position in recovery rate.
The ECOWAS COVID-19 daily update report, as of November 22nd, 2020, shows that Nigeria is ranked 7th on recovery rate (93.5%), 10th on death rate (CFR – case fatality ratio) at 1.76%, and 9th on active cases (4.7%) amongst the 15 member countries of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).
This data can be seen on the Twitter handle of the ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control.
— ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (@Ecowas_cdc) November 23, 2020
A week ago, as of 15th November 2020, Nigeria occupied the 6th position in recovery rate (93.7%), 9th position in CFR (1.79%) and 11th position in active cases (4.5%).
According to the report, there are 209,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths, 189,917 recoveries, and 8,849 active cases in ECOWAS countries. This data represents in Africa, 9.8% of the confirmed cases, 5.7% deaths, 10.9% recovery rate and 3.3% active cases.
As regards the death rate (CFR), Liberia tops the list with 5.29%, followed by Niger 5.12% and Mali 3.41% while Guinea is the least with 0.58%.
On recovery rate, Cote D”Ivoire tops the list with 98.3%, followed by Senegal 97.5% and Ghana 97.1%, with the least coming from Mali with 71.1%.
Mali has more active COVID 19 cases with 25.5%, followed by Sierra Leone 20.9% and Togo 18.7% and with Senegal contributing the least with 0.4%.
What you should know
- As at November 22 2020, worldwide, there are 58,649,324 confirmed cases, 1,388,068 deaths and CFR of 2.3%
- In Africa, there are 2,057,029 confirmed cases, 49,412 deaths and CFR of 2.4%
- In West Africa, there are 201,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths and CFR of 1.41%, with a recovery rate of 94.2%.