Foundation expresses worry over management of COVID-19 relief fund, materials
The Matagu Foundation, an anti corruption advocacy group has warned against mismanagement of Corona Virus relief funds donated to the federal government by individuals and corporate organisation towards mitigating the impact of the pandemic on Nigerians.
Chief Ekene Enefe, Founder of Matagu Foundation told journalists in Awka on Friday that the funds and material donations would likely be looted if those in charge don’t come up with a clear model of distributing it.
Enefe said the relief funds and material were donations meant for emergency and should not be mistaken for government social security programme nor be managed as such.
He said the COVID-19 induced shutdown had crippled economic activities in every state and was already taking rough toll on households in the cities and communities alike .
The foundation boss, described as ridiculous, the claim that the federal government would continue to feed school children when all the educational institutions in the country have been shutdown and pupils gone to their various homes.
“Matagu Foundation wishes to first of all thank the kind hearted individuals and corporate organisations that have contributed in no small measure to the containment of Corona Virus disease as well as to cushion the effect on Nigerians.
“But we must observe with worry that the way they are handling the Corona Virus relief fund and items smacks of suspicion, dishonesty and fraud on the part of government.
“How can they say they are a carrying on with school feeding programme when the schools are closed and the pupils are in their homes and some have travelled out of their location, are they taking the food to their houses.
“This is a time of national emergency, it is not time for party politics, ethnicity or regionalism.
“It is wrong for the government to say they have started the distribution of relief corona support funds to the so-called poor, it is illegal when the national assembly has not made input.
“Who are the poor they are talking about when everybody is stuck in their houses, how did they arrive at the population they are giving the money to when Nigeria of about 200 million people is the poverty capital of the world.
“This is exposing the rot in the system, we need to have a working social security system,” he said.
The Foundation said prices of essential commodities like food and medicals had suddenly risen that most people cannot afford them and called government to use the emergency funds to subsidize them and increase supply.
Enefe who condemned the approach of distribution said government should rather use the products to strengthen public health infrastructure.
According to him, if they want the intervene, there are government agencies that have reach to the grassroots. More importantly, this is an emergency fund not government social security programme, people need relief item not money .
“Sharing cash to people will encourage looting and fraud, National Emergency Management Agency is there in every state, they can work with the state components to reach the people in the communities.
“Instead of encouraging the massive looting that will take place, government should used the money generated for COVID-19 relief to equip our hospitals and build new ones, they can use it to strengthen our health sector at all levels.
“The donors of this money have the intention that Nigerians should not suffer but that purpose cannot be met, we need government to use this money to subsidise food prices and increase supply to control the artificial inflation,” he said.