The Think-Do Tank Group, an arm of the national Civil Coalition on Sustainable Development (CSCSD), has called for transparency and accountability in the distribution of Covid-19 palliatives to the vulnerable by government and well-meaning individuals in Nigeria.
The group in a signed statement by its National Coordinator, Tola Winjobi, commended the efforts of both the Nigerian government and philanthropists for mobilising relief support for vulnerable groups as the nation faces down Covid-19. CSCSD called for transparency and accountability to ensure all funds provided by taxpayers and the benevolent are spent supporting vulnerable groups. The group noted that Nigeria has a history of poor management and misappropriation of public funds, which is a reason for concern.
CSCSD therefore proposed some measures for ensuring relief material and funds provided for fighting Covid-19 are judiciously used. The group recommended that a dedicated database for tracking all contributions made in cash and kind be established, updated regularly and made accessible to the public. The official statement by CSCSD stated that such a database will aid the tracking of collective commitments to the Covid-19 fight.
The group also recommended that a summarised weekly report of all expenses and distribution of material be provided to strengthen accountability and transparency. Furthermore, CSCSD urged all citizens to perform their civic duty under the Nigerian Whistleblower Act and supply information that exposes corrupt officials and other persons culpable of mismanaging and misappropriating material and funds dedicated to fighting Covid-19.
The group called on security operatives to respect the rights of the people in dealing with the public in areas where the government’s lockdown directives are in place, demanding that a toll-free line and situation room be established to handle citizen reports of violent incidents.
CSCSD is a coalition of over 2,000 non-governmental organisations, media professionals’ associations and youth and women groups that is collaborating with government to accelerate the process of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.
Photo source: Sergio Santos