serap-sues-health-ministry,-ncdc-over-‘failure-to-account-for-covid-19-money’

SERAP sues health ministry, NCDC over ‘failure to account for COVID-19 money’

SERAP sues health ministry, NCDC over ‘failure to account for COVID-19 money’
SERAP

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit in opposition to Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health and Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), over “their failure to account for the public funds and other resources so far spent and used to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.”

In the go well with quantity FHC/ABJ/CS/616/2020 filed final week on the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is in search of: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and compel the Minister of Health and the NCDC to publish details of the funds and resources from federal and state governments, and the private sector, as well as details of how the funds and resources have so far been spent and used to combat COVID-19.”

SERAP can be in search of: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel the Federal Government to disclose information on the exact number of tests that have been carried out for high-ranking public officials and politicians, the number of any such high-ranking public officials and politicians now in self-isolation or quarantine, as well as the exact number of tests that have been carried out for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

SERAP is arguing that: “Transparency in the use of COVID-19 money would help to reduce the risk of corruption or opportunism, build trust and engage Nigerians in the fight against coronavirus as well as safe lives. Transparency and accountability are important to implementing an effective response to COVID-19 and slowing the spread of the virus in the country.”

According to SERAP: “Nigerians have the right to know the details of spending of COVID-19 money, as this is essential to the fight against corruption, and will foster the development of democratic institutions and the rule of law in Nigeria.”

The go well with adopted SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated 27 March 2020 to the Minister of Health and the NCDC, expressing “concern that lack of transparency in the usage of the funds and sources to fight COVID-19 would result in diversion or mismanagement of funds and sources, unnecessarily value lives, and lead to critical harm to public well being within the nation.

According to SERAP: “Millions of Nigerians continue to lack access to an improved water source and to proper sanitation, thereby making them vulnerable to COVID-19 and other illnesses. Yet, the Ministry of Health and the NCDC have failed and/or refused to disclose whether there is any collaborative work with the Ministry of Water Resources to provide vulnerable Nigerians with safe water, sanitation, and hygienic conditions.”

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The go well with filed on behalf of SERAP by its legal professionals Kolawole Oluwadare, Atinuke Adejuyigbe, and Opeyemi Owolabi, learn partially: “The information SERAP is seeking to access is permitted under the Freedom of Information Act 2011 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“The Federal Government has a legal duty to ensure that information on the spending of COVID-19 money and resources is released to SERAP and widely published. It is not too much to ask for details of measures to protect health workers and procedures put in place to ensure that COVID-19 money is not diverted, mismanaged or stolen.”

“The Federal Government has no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide SERAP with the information requested, and therefore, this court ought to grant SERAP the order directing and compelling the Federal Government to publish details of spending of COVID-19 money.”

“There are reports of lack of transparency in the use of the funds and resources being mobilised to combat coronavirus, and that authorities are prioritising home testing of politicians, with some reportedly taking multiple tests. Politicians engaging in multiple tests for coronavirus have in turn slowed the number of tests for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

“The suit is in the public interest, as it bothers on issues of national interest, public welfare and interest, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability. Obedience to the rule of law particularly by those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law.”

“Nigerians are entitled to know how the commonwealth is being utilized, managed and administered in a democratic setting, as this positively influences the feeling of belonging in the society. This right to know will no doubt help in promoting a transparent democracy, good governance and public accountability.”

SERAP is in search of the next reliefs:

AN ORDER granting go away to the Applicant to use for judicial evaluation and search an order of mandamus directing and compelling the Respondents to supply and disclose the next data to the Applicant:

  1. Details of actual funds and different sources allotted by the Nigerian authorities and personal sector donations to the Respondents to enhance Nigeria’s well being amenities to fight the unfold of COVID-19 in Nigeria;
  1. Details of spending and deliberate spending of any such funds, different sources and donations to fight the unfold of COVID-19 in Nigeria;
  1. Details of efforts made by the Second Respondent to make NCDC’s web site purposeful and accessible and to publish weekly spending on initiatives by the NCDC, together with on NCDC’s web site;
  1. Details of processes and procedures put in place to make sure that the funds, different sources and donations allotted to fight COVID-19 will not be diverted, mismanaged or stolen;
  1. Details of measures to guard well being staff and to encourage the nation’s poorest and most susceptible individuals to return ahead for testing and to escalate testing for this group;
  1. The actual variety of exams which have been carried out for high-ranking public officers and politicians, the variety of any such high-ranking public officers and politicians now in self-isolation or quarantine, in addition to the precise variety of exams which have been carried out for the nation’s poorest and most susceptible individuals

AND for such additional order(s) this Honourable Court might deem match to make within the circumstances.

No date has been mounted for the listening to of the go well with.

Vanguard

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