It is no longer news, the ugly face of the Wuhan (China) originated virus popularly known as COVID-19 has alarmed the world on the need to form a formidable force against common enemy. Started in January 2020, COVID-19 so far has caused historical damages that the world would live to remember even after the virus disappeared.
In Nigeria just as other countries in the world, the scourge and dreaded nature of the virus mandated the government, organisations and even individuals to swift into aiding the government to ensure winning the battle against the virus sow light of the day.
Record is embedded with names of organisations and individuals who deem it feet to participate in this fight through cash donations, materials, and other necessary facilities that can assist in defeating the disease.
Certainly, billions of naira and dollars were contributed towards aiding the government in this battle.
Noteworthy, the federal and states governments did not fold their hands as captains of the ship. The government made cash donations and provided necessary materials and facilities to complement efforts by individuals and organizations aimed at defeating the disease. Earlier in March, federal government of Nigeria approved a 10 billion Naira grant (about $27 million) to fight the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the country.
We are also aware; Mr President approved release of a 5 billion Naira (about $13 million) special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC). Wealthy Nigerians and organizations, including banks, have also donated billions of Naira to help fund medical centers and provide essential materials necessary to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country.
For instance, United Bank for Africa (UBA) donated five billion Naira (about $13 million). Also, Access Bank, Zenith Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank gave N1 billion each with facilities for isolation center, while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) gave N11 billion.
Noteworthy, wealthy members of the private sector including Femi Otedola, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Herbert Wigwe, Segun Agbaje and Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, all contributed 1 billion Naira (about $2.7 million) each to support the government in curtailing the pandemic in Nigeria.
On this regard, President Buhari saluted the public-spiritedness of wealthy Nigerians and organizations for standing up to be counted in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. Also key to mention, other foreign organisations contributed funds to this course.
However, the point of worry is the alleged mismanagement of these funds contributed, which the federal government, Federal Ministry of Health, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control should be able to convincingly clear the air and give Nigerians a comprehensive account of the funds.
At this juncture, as Capitalwatch Media, a monthly magazine publication who over the years has shown zero tolerance to corrupt practices in both public and private institutions, we call on the government, agencies and committees responsible to in the matter of transparency and accountability tell Nigerians the agency in charge of collection and disbursement of the donated funds for the treatment of the virus, how much was realized, how much has been duly used and how much is remaining?
Until that is done, We and other Nigerians in millions will continue to ask questions and insist that the funds donated to the fight against COVID-19 should be accounted.