36 states dragged to ICPC over hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been asked to probe the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses in many states of Nigeria.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the petitioner, said the palliatives ought to have been distributed to the poorest and most vulnerable people during the lockdown.

SERAP urges ICPC to publish the outcome of the investigation.

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

In the petition sent to Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, ICPC, SERAP 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.”

The petition dated 24 October, 2020 was signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization. A copy was sent to Professor Itse Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).

Part of the petition reads: “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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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