The Chief Executive of the Connected Development (CODE), Hamzat Lawal, has urged Nigerians to seek clarification on how COVID-19 funds were spent in the country.
Lawal who made the call on Monday in Abuja during a press briefing for the launch of COVID-19 Fund Africa Tracking Website, said that there were shoddy deals in the distribution of palliatives and contracts awarded to manage the funding of the pandemic.
According to him, the website which is part of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) was launched in conjunction with Follow the Money and BudgIT, with learning partners Global Integrity to provide access on data of COVID in Africa.
He said that this including intervention resources, funds allocations, palliative distributions, accurate number of cases, data on COVID funds, vaccine management and government’s responsiveness.
“Our primary goal for designing the website is to improve citizens’ use of data for advocacy and government engagement in a manner that promotes transparency, accountability and open governance.” Lawal said.
He said that the website would display information on the $51bn resources committed to COVID-19 across Africa and $5bn in-Kind Donation as well as over 2.532 COVID Datasets across Africa.
He added that research findings by CTAP in Nigeria and six west African countries found gross misconduct and corruption in the handling of the COVID -19 funds.
On his part, the Executive Director, BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde, said that in tracking government’s level of responsiveness, the research show through data the discrepancies in palliatives and cash transfer distributions, substandard healthcare compounded by the pandemic disintegration of COVID data, vague procurement processes and blatant corruption by government officials.
He said that under the CTAP, the three CSOs are advocating and collaborating with governments in Africa to provide and institute proper accountability measures for all financial and material donations received.
“Since it kicked off 8 months ago, the project has inspired increased citizen engagement with issues of government’s transparency and accountability and a zero-tolerance for corruption in some countries. A case in point is the termination of public officials in Liberia for the misappropriation of COVID funds,” Onigbinde said.