Buhari Should Account For COVID-19 Funds, Says Rights Group

…decries 27 Killed In enforcement of Covid-19 restriction orders

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

The Human Rights, Liberty Access and Peace Defender’s Foundation has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to make open the amount of money received from international donor agencies, actors and non State actors, indviduals, organiations locally and internationally during this Covid-19 pandemic.

The organiation said it has become pertinent that all the funds raised for the prevention of the contagious coronavirus be made public in order to demonstrate in clear-cut terms his administration’s anticorruption crusade.

In a statement signed by HURIDE’s chairman, Board of Trustees in Anambra, Dede Uzor A Uzor, the rights group said that the openness in the donation received by the Federal Government has become imperative in the light of the inferno that engulfed the Accountant General’s office in Abuja, where it was believed that the fire has connection with Covid-19.

In the same vein, the group asked the State Governors to make open the amount they have received so far in their respective States and how they spent the fund and commended the Rivers State Governor for paying its unemployed citizens the sum of N35,000 and urged other state governors to emulate the good steps.

“This accountability is important so that the people will regain confidence in governments which they have lost in our leaders,” he said.

HURIDE also charged both the Federal and State Governments to strive to cushion the effect of the lockdown on the citizens, saying that a lot of people have complained of hunger, suffering and poverty this period.

They said, “Somebody was said to have committed suicide because hunger and suffering of this period have become unbearable.

“In many states of the Federation, they said, there has been upsurge in crime and other unethical practices as a result of hunger.

“In other states, citizens have staged demostration against shutting down without commensurate stimulus packages.”

The group said governments could suspend payment of rents, electricity bills, relax on the  imposition of levies, suspension of payment of increased  Value Added Tax (VAT) among other measures.

The human right body asked both Federal and State Governments as well as private sectors to pay their workers as and when due at this luckdown period.

They decried a situation where employers of labour insist on no work, no pay, saying that such employers of labour should be checkmated.

The group lamented the excesses of security operatives who have killed more Nigerians than the pandemic itself.

HURIDE said at the last count, security operatives have killed at least 27  Nigerians as against 11 persons killed by the pandemic, codemning in strong term the killings of two youths at  Nkpor, a suburb of Onitsha in Anambra State by Police and killing of another two in Aba, Abia, State by security operatives.

They called for immediate arrest and formal charges be pressed on the Policemen involved in the despicable killing of defenceless and unarmed youths and bring to book those who attacked police with harmful chemicals suspected to be acid while on official duty.

We urge the federal government and respective governors to set up judicial commission of enquiries to look into the remote causes of the ugly incident and sanction those found culpable.

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