SERAP asks ICPC to probe ‘alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in several states’

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to “promptly, thoroughly, transparently and effectively investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses in several states, which ought to have been distributed to the poorest and most vulnerable people during the lockdown, and to publish the outcome of any such investigation.”

SERAP’s petition followed reports that some people have discovered and taken away COVID-19 palliatives stored in warehouses in several states.

SERAP in the petition sent to Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, ICPC, asked the agency to “ensure the prompt and effective prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible, if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of hoarding and diversion of the palliatives.”

In the petition dated 24 October, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “It would seem that Nigerian authorities asked people to stay at home as a protective lockdown measure but then failed to discharge a legal responsibility to timely, effectively, and transparently distribute COVID-19 palliatives to ease the hardship faced by the poorest and most vulnerable people.”

SERAP also said: “Unless promptly investigated, the allegations of hoarding and diversion would undermine public trust in any efforts to bring the spread of the pandemic under control, exacerbate the negative impact of the crisis, and deny those most in need access to basic necessities of life.”

SERAP argued: “Tracking, monitoring and ensuring COVID-19 palliatives are timely, effectively, and efficiently distributed to those most in need would improve transparency and accountability, respect for human rights, as well as remove the possibility of political considerations or bribery in the distribution of the palliatives.”

SERAP expressed: “serious concerns that the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in several states and the apparent failure to timely, effectively, efficiently, and transparently distribute the palliatives and other reliefs to the poorest and most vulnerable people have continued to deny many citizens the much-needed support.”

SERAP also urged the ICPC “to visit the states where COVID-19 palliatives have been discovered in warehouses, and to track and monitor the distribution of palliatives across the 36 states of the country, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to remove the risks of diversion, and ensure that the palliatives get to those most in need, and not used for political or corrupt purposes.”

The petition, copied to Professor Itse Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), read in part: “Some people have reportedly discovered and taken away COVID-19 palliatives stored in warehouses in several states including Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kaduna, Lagos, Osun, Plateau and Taraba states, with some of the people reportedly saying: ‘the food is ours but they are keeping it for themselves’.”

“Promptly attending to these recommendations would show your agency’s willingness to proactively exert your mandates, as this would act as a deterrent against breaches of Nigeria’s constitution, anti-corruption legislation and international standards, as well as ensure the transparent and accountable distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs.”

“SERAP notes that billions of naira have been budgeted and donated to respond to COVID-19 and help ease the resulting impact and hardship on the poorest and most vulnerable people. Nigeria has also received millions of dollars in international aid and announced programmes to help citizens through the lockdown, including direct distribution of food to millions of vulnerable households.”

“This request is consistent with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Act, and the country’s international obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Nigeria has ratified these treaties.”

“The request is also consistent with the COVID-19 transparency frameworks that have been put together by the Nigerian authorities.”

“These include: the framework on delivering a transparent food ration distribution for the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme; Framework for the Management of COVID-19 Funds in Nigeria under the Treasury Single Account by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; Guidelines for the Conduct of Procurements that respond to COVID-19; and the Accountability and Transparency Mechanisms for Delivering the Cash Transfer by the Humanitarian Affairs.”

“In particular, Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution provides that ‘The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.’ Similarly, the UN Convention against Corruption requires the authorities to ensure effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and penalties for hoarding and diversion.”

SERAP therefore urged the ICPC to put pressure on federal and state authorities to:

  1. Develop clear criteria on who exactly qualifies for COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs to ensure that the palliatives are not used by corrupt officials to benefit themselves and their political supporters at the expense of the intended beneficiaries;

  2. Seek and publish distribution information from federal and state authorities, including details of the timelines of distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs, as well as the logistics that have been put in place to facilitate the distribution;

  3. Seek and publish details of palliatives and other socio-economic reliefs that federal and state authorities have so far provided to the poorest and most vulnerable people, including the list of beneficiaries of any such palliatives and reliefs;

  4. Open public complaints reporting mechanism on distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs to ensure access of citizens that may be unduly denied of the aid to justice and effective remedies;

  5. Work with federal and state authorities to identify which areas remain most in need of palliatives and other reliefs and ensure timely, effective, efficient, transparent and accountable distribution to the intended beneficiaries

 

Kolawole Oluwadare

SERAP Deputy Director

25/10/2020

Lagos, Nigeria

Emails: info@serap-nigeria.orgnews@serap-nigeria.org

Twitter: @SERAPNigeria

Website: www.serap-nigeria.org

For more information or to request an interview, please contact us on: +2348160537202

 

 

LAGOS COORDINATED ATTACKS AN ATTEMPT TO WEAKEN SOUTHWEST ECONOMY – GOVERNORS

 

  • Ministers, Southwest Governors: We Stand With Sanwo-Olu 

 

  • Akeredolu To Igbo: Disregard Threat Of Violence By Adeyinka Grandson

Shock! This was the expression on the faces of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) members from Southwest and Governors as they toured the public assets and private properties destroyed in Wednesday’s coordinated arson in Lagos State.

The Governors and the Ministers were in Lagos on Sunday to commiserate with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu over the large-scale destruction of public and private facilities by hoodlums who had hijacked the #EndSARS protests by youths.

The delegation of Governors and Ministers was personally received by Sanwo-Olu at the State House in Marina, where the Lagos helmsman showed them the pictorial evidence of the violence before visiting some  the torched assets – the Lagos High Court, the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) building and the Forensic Lab.

Many sighed endlessly; others were simply shaking their heads. Some brought their phones and took photographs of the “scene of war”.

At a joint press conference held after the tour, chairman of Southwest Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, likened Lagos to a war zone, given the extent of the destruction.

He said the violence that resulted from the EndSARS protest left much to be desired, stressing that there was an agenda beyond the youth demonstration against police brutality.

He said: “We are deeply concerned with the ease with which public buildings, utilities, police stations and investment of our people have been burnt despite the proximity of security agencies in those areas. The development leaves us with no other option than to believe that there may be other reasons for continued protests, well coordinated and funded.

“We are particularly worried that 48 hours after the unfortunate incident at the Lekki Toll Gate by persons adorning military outfit, there has been no definitive statement from the military authorities on the incident. Our anxiety becomes heightened by the categorical denial of the Governor of Lagos State concerning the military deployment. No Governor has powers to authorise deployment of military personnel in Nigeria.”

The Governors also condemned “sacrilegious” attack on the palace of the Oba of Lagos and decried what they called “vile attack” on All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and businesses in which he has interest.

Akeredolu said the regression into savagery exposed Southwest’s vulnerability to manipulation by divisive elements bent on annihilating the region’s economic prosperity and destroying its common heritage.

The Governors applauded Sanwo-Olu for his patience and the manner with which he handled the situation.

The Forum demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the destruction of public assets and private businesses in Lagos.

“We commend Gov. Sanwo-Olu for his administrative acumen. We note his patience and understanding in the face of unwarranted provocation by agents of darkness. We stand resolutely with him at this trying period. We urged our youths to rise up and defend our land against diabolical incursion ravaging our space. We cannot continue to fold our hands and watch our heritage destroyed,” Akeredolu said.

The Southwest Governors unanimously disowned the war-mongering rhetoric of a man, Adeyinka Grandson, in a video circulating in the social media. They urged the Yoruba and non-Yoruba residents in the Southwest to disregard the threat of violence issued in the video, saying the “secessionist” had no authority to speak for the Yoruba.

Akeredolu said: “The element (Adeyinka Grandson) has no authority to speak on our behalf. We call on our brothers who are non-Yoruba natives to go about their normal businesses with out fear. Southwest region will continue to be made habitable for all.”

Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, said the visit was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that words were not enough to describe the extent of the destruction wreaked by the arsonists.

Fashola hailed Sanwo-Olu for his “untiring effort” to restore peace in the State, cautioning those posting inflammatory comments in the social media to desist from the act. He urged all Lagos residents to unite and collectively address the cause of the violence, stressing that the State Government needed the support of all in unraveling the truth.

Other Governors in the delegation included Oyo and Ekiti states, Engr. Seyi Makinde, and Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

Other FEC members, who visited Sanwo-Olu include Minister for Sport and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, Minister for Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Industry, Trade and Development, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Niger Delta, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura, and Minister for Mines and Steel Development,

Olamilekan Adegbite.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who also visited Sanwo-Olu, condemned the violence and destruction of properties in Lagos.

Gbajabiamila, who was accompanied by members of the House of Representatives from Lagos State, urged people not to read ethnic dimension to the issue, promising that the lower chamber of the National Assembly would do all within its power in rebuilding Lagos and other states affected by the violence.

He said: “This certainly is not Lagos State of our dream that we all talk about. I believe that no matter brave or face anyone put into it, even the protesters have their regrets that things went this far. From my understanding and from what I have seen, those who were for the protests and those who did not join were all affected. It is very unfortunate to see the level of destruction.”

 

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

OCTOBER 25, 2020

——————

 

Carrying of Oba’s Staff of Office, insulting, callous, pointless exuberance, says Lagos Chief, Babatunde Olorogun-Etti

Lagos Chief, Babatunde Olorogun-Etti, on Sunday described the attack of the palace of the Oba of Lagos by miscreants and hoodlums as insulting, callous and barbaric.

 ‘’The carrying of the Staff of Office, the visible symbol of the Lagos throne is a taboo’’.

He also blamed some parents in the country for not bringing up their children in accordance with the accepted laws of good breeding and respect.

‘’I was dumbfounded when I saw the footage of the palace attack. I could hardly believe my eyes. It is a very grave offence, a disgrace to Lagosians, a disgrace to the Yoruba Nation’’’

In a statement in Lagos Island, Olorogun-Etti demonstrated his contempt against those behind the Lagos palace attack.

‘’They are enemies of values’’ he said.

The highly respected Lagos chief underscored the scorn, desecration of the traditional institution of Lagos and the consequences on the perpetrators of this dastardly act

‘’It is a deliberate act and will have bad consequences on the perpetrators.

He urged them to repent, return the staff of office and apologize to the good people of Lagos State.

The Lagos Chief also condemned the attack on All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The Nation Newspapers Office, Television Continental (TVC), Shoprite and other public and private properties in the state.

He commended members of the traditional council for exercising restraint in the face of the provocation.

Olorogun-Etti prayed for a longer life for the Lagos monarch and God’s blessings of good health.

He also urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to leave no stone unturned in dealing with the perpetrators.

SPCC 70TH ANNIVERSARY POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

The National Executive Council of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe Old Students Association has postponed the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the College.

The executive committee had planned to hold the 70th Anniversary in December, 2020.

At a meeting in Sapele, Delta State, the Association announced 9th, 10th and 11th April, 2021 as the new date for the 70th Anniversary Celebration

A statement by the National President of the Association, Mr. Cornelius Semiteje, said the postponement became necessary because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

‘’We are interested in the health of old students and guests’’ the statement said.

Founded in 1950 as the fourth secondary school in Warri Province (later renamed Delta Province in 1952), St Peter Claver’s College was the first secondary school in Sapele.

Its proprietor, His Lordship P. J. Kelly, Catholic Bishop of Benin Diocese which included Warri/Delta Province during British Colonial Times, envisaged St Peter Claver’s College as the equivalent of St Patrick’s College, Asaba, for the Catholic Community in Warri Province.

SPCC moved from Sapele to Aghalokpe in 1953.

SPCC 70TH ANNIVERSARY POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

The National Executive Council of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe Old Students Association has postponed the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the College.

The executive committee had planned to hold the 70th Anniversary in December, 2020.

At a meeting in Sapele, Delta State, the Association announced 9th, 10th and 11th April, 2021 as the new date for the 70th Anniversary Celebration

A statement by the National President of the Association, Mr. Cornelius Semiteje, said the postponement became necessary because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

‘’We are interested in the health of old students and guests’’ the statement said.

Founded in 1950 as the fourth secondary school in Warri Province (later renamed Delta Province in 1952), St Peter Claver’s College was the first secondary school in Sapele.

Its proprietor, His Lordship P. J. Kelly, Catholic Bishop of Benin Diocese which included Warri/Delta Province during British Colonial Times, envisaged St Peter Claver’s College as the equivalent of St Patrick’s College, Asaba, for the Catholic Community in Warri Province.

The college grew out of an extra class Michael Scully added to St. Francis Primary School, Sapele, in January 1950.

SPCC moved from Sapele to Aghalokpe in 1953.

Claverians are playing leading roles in Nigeria’s life – in politics, in the arts, in commerce, in education, in sport and in the Church.

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