The Federal Government has disclosed how much it spent so far in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, out of the public funds and donations by individuals and corporate organizations.
In its response to an enquiry by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) based on the Freedom of Information (FOI), the Federal Government said that it spent N30,540,563,571.09 in 4 months to fight COVID-19, out of the N36.3 billion public funds and donations.
The disclosure was made by SERAP through a series of tweet posts on its official Twitter handle on Sunday, September 6, 2020.
BREAKING: In response to our FoI with @Connected_dev the FG has stated that it spent N30,540,563,571.09 in 4 months to fight COVID-19. Of the N36.3bn public funds & donations received, PTF on COVID-19 spent N22bn; 36 states spent N7bn; NAF spent N877m; and @PoliceNG spent N500m.
— SERAP (@SERAPNigeria) September 6, 2020
SERAP, in its reply to the letter sent by the Accountant General, said, “We acknowledge receipt of the letter signed on your behalf by Mrs Odanwu Chizoba which provides some information on inflows and outflows of Covid-19 funds, drawn from the Covid-19 Eradication Support Accounts.
“We note that the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 spent N22 billion, 36 states spent N7 billion for the deployment of assets in support of Covid-19 operations and Nigerian Police spent N500 million on personal protective equipment.
“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.”
SERAP pointed out that it was refreshing to note that 115 ordinary Nigerians donated between N1 and N100 to support the authorities’ efforts in its fight against Covid-19, despite the fact that it was the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of the population that continued to bear the brunt of COVID-19.
It noted that this was a huge lesson for Nigerian politicians about the idea of public service to one’s country. It also sent a powerful message about the need 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 public funds.
SERAP, however, said it would be grateful if the requested details and additional information were provided to them within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter.
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It said that if no response was gotten from the Federal Government within the stated time frame, appropriate legal actions would be taken to compel compliance with its request.