Follow The Money, an initiative of Connected Development, CODE, says it tracked over 40billion Naira mobilised by the federal government from its coffers, the private sectors and international donors respectively, but says there is secrecy on disbursements.
According to the organisation, their discovery is against the about 30billion Naira claimed to have been received by Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
This information was revealed by Hamzat Lawal, the Founder of Follow The Money Initiative, who spoke on the Program- Public Conscience on Radio, Produced by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, PRIMORG, in Abuja.
Lawal said that the tracking of over 40bn Naira was carried out through digital tools and data analysis, as it’s difficult now to deploy inquirers to the fields for fear of contracting the virus.
He described some of the painstaking processes in seeking accurate information from Ministries Departments and Agencies, MDAs as futile, seeing that most were unwilling to share, despite evoking the Freedom of Information Bill.
Hamza said his group wrote to the ministries of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management, and the Finance, Budget and National Planning to gain access to aggregated financial data of govt spendings.
The only public response from finance ministry is that “They’re setting up instrument of accountability and transparency”, and a further claim that government has received close to 30bn Naira.
Others approached also include Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC among others.
NNPC, he said, mobilised $11million and replied only on Twitter via the GMD, saying the donor organisations disbursed funds through their “Procurement and Internal Policy” without any further explanation.
Lawal said a private bank gave FCTA N500million which the Minister, Mohammed Bello admitted remitting N200million to NCDC but never accounted for the remains.
Likewise, he said NCDC was approached to confirm if they actually received the initial 6billion Naira and N200million from FCTA, but the agency is still yet to respond.
He said steps would be taken reach out to banks with the FOI bills to give an account of how monies in their possessions were disbursed to the various MDAs.
Earlier, National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the whole management process of mobilising funds is a sham.
He said the PDP would ensure that the fund is spent judiciously for the purpose in which it is budgeted for.
He, however, suggested that the government should setup an independent body consisting of eminent Nigerians and members of the opposition to create an atmosphere of transparency and accountability.
On their advocacy, Ologbondiyan said the PDP is not completely helpless in airing its views, that it is only commonplace for the majority to have its way while the minority will have their say, urging govt to be truthful to Nigerians.
The FG has acknowledged that the European Union has given Nigeria the sum of N21billion to fight the Corona Virus.
PRIMORG’s Public Conscience on radio is an anti-corruption program produced by PRIMORG, with support from the MacArthur Foundation
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