The Matagu Foundation, an anti corruption advocacy group, has called for transparency and management of Coronavirus relief fund, donated to the Federal Government by individuals and corporate organisations.
Chief Ekene Enefe, Founder of the group, gave the charge in an interview with journalists in Awka, on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that there has been donations by private individuals and corporate organisations running into billions of naira, aimed at mitigating the impact of the pandemic on Nigerians.
Enefe called on COVID-19 response teams to come up with a clear template for result oriented distribution of the fund and materials that would curb looting or mismanagement.
He stressed that the relief funds and materials were donations meant for emergency and should not be mistaken for government social security programme, or be managed as such.
He said the COVID-19 induced shutdown had crippled economic activities in every state and was already taking its toll on households, both in the urban and rural dwellings.
The founder described as worrisome reports that the Federal Government would continue to feed school children when all the educational institutions have been shutdown and pupils had gone home.
“Matagu Foundation wishes to first of all thank the kind individuals and corporate organisations that have contributed in no small measure to the containment of Corona virus, as well as in cushioning the effect on Nigerians.
“But we must observe with worry that the way they are handling the Corona virus relief fund and items smacks of suspicion, dishonesty and fraud.
“How can they say they are carrying on with school feeding programme when the schools are closed, pupils are in their homes and some have traveled out of their locations? Are they taking the food to their houses?
“This is a time of national emergency, it is not time for party politics, ethnicity or regionalism.
“It is wrong for the government to say they have started the distribution of Corona virus support fund to the so-called poor; it is illegal when the national assembly has not made an input.
“Who are the poor they are talking about when everybody is stuck in their houses? How did they arrive at the population they are giving the money to when Nigeria of about 200 million people is the poverty capital of the world?
“This is exposing the rot in the system, we need to evolve an equitable social security system,” he said.
He said prices of essential commodities like food and medicals had suddenly gone up that most people could not afford them and called on government to use the emergency funds to subsidise goods and services and increase supply.
Enefe therefore, said government should rather use the products to strengthen public health infrastructure.
He said if government was serious about intervention, it should use its government agencies that were in direct contact with the grassroots.
“More importantly, this is an emergency fund; not government social security programme, people need relief item not money.
“Sharing cash to people will encourage looting and fraud, the National Emergency Management Agency is in every state; they can work with the state agencies to reach the people in the communities.
“Instead of encouraging the massive looting that will take place, government should use the money generated for COVID-19 relief to equip our hospitals and build new ones, and they can use it to strengthen our health sector at all levels.