Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has warned all federal government agencies and committees responsible for the management of funds being donated to fight the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic not to embezzle the money.
Frank in a statement on Sunday in Abuja also said it is time for the federal government to give palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the economic effect of its stay-at-home-order now effective across the country.
He wondered why Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will not reach out to vulnerable Nigerians through the distribution of Trader Money at this critical crisis moment in the country.
He commended patriotic Nigerians and corporate bodies that have contributed to the fund to fight the COVID-19.
He, however insisted that Nigerians are watching the federal government to see if the funds will be used for the purpose for which they were meant.
The political activist lamented that the federal government has again shown that it lacks workable ideas when it comes to issues concerning the welfare of the masses.
“How can the federal government release just N15 billion (about 40 million USD) to fight COVID-19 in a country of over 200 million people?
“Instead of the Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to key into the laudable idea of giving N10,000 to each Nigerian to cushion the effects of this Coronavirus pandemic as suggested by a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and equally strategize on how to make it work, they are instead blaming COVID-19 for the drop in oil price at the international market.
“What about the Excess Crude Account? Is the Buhari’s regime saying that Nigeria is broke?
“Is N15 billion the best Buhari and his regime can do? Where is the so called recovered loot that this government claimed or has it been re-looted?
“We hope the COVID-19 funds will get to Nigerians that are in need of it. Let it not disappear like the funds that were donated for the flood victims a few years back.
“If this incompetent government had heeded Atiku’s advice to stop flights from Coronavirus infested countries even before the very first case happened in Nigeria, Nigeria would not be where we are today.
“They have again shown that they lack understanding in matters concerning the welfare and protection of the Nigerian masses.”
He added that it is high time for Osinbajo to once again distribute the Trader Money to Nigerians who need it most at this time.
The Bayelsa-born political activist said: “America, with a population over of 300 million, is giving $1,200 to each citizen to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“France has put on hold the payment of light and water bills and have pledged to support companies financially.
“Canada is giving each citizen 2,000 Canadian dollars and putting mortgages on hold.
“When will Buhari tell Nigerians how he intends to ease the COVID-19 pains on Nigerians?
“Buhari didn’t hesitate to release bailout funds to states so it can be looted by his party people, now that Nigeria needs bailout, they are claiming there is no money.
“I believe it is not above the power of the Federal Government to set aside $10 billion to help ease the current financial pressure on Nigerians.
“It is a shame that Buhari could only approve N15 billion (about $40 million) whereas American voted $2 trillion dollars, France 300 billion Euros and Germany 600 billion Euros to cushion the effect of the pandemic on their citizens.”
He urged General Buhari to as a matter of urgency direct the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to put the payment of light bills on hold since the government has directed Nigerians to stay at home.
He also urged Buhari to appeal to all landlords to desist from pressuring tenants to pay house rents as being done in other countries.
He added: “Nigerians are demanding that the committee that is set up to oversee the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria should be transparent in using the funds donated by patriotic Nigerians and corporate bodies.
“No embezzlement of any kind will be tolerated.
“When it comes to the masses, there is no money but when it comes to the executive and the 9th National Assembly, they borrow money and pad the budget to buy imported vehicles even though they have banned importation of luxury goods into the country. What an irony!
“During the last presidential election, this regime got N90 billion from one of its agencies to fund its campaign.
“We expect this same agency to bring this same amount as this is the time for Nigerians can benefit from their taxes.
“We know the penchant of this regime in looting public funds but we caution the lead Committee to not fall into this trap as posterity will judge them.
“Nigerians demand a breakdown and daily update of how this money is being spent.
“We pray that God would deliver Nigerians from this pandemic because any Nigerian that is hoping that Buhari and his incompetent government will bail him is dreaming.
“Buhari has not deemed it fit to address the nation and assuage the fears and concerns of its citizens up till this moment. What a shame!”
- Comrade Timi Frank