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SERAP Sues Ministry of Health and NCDC Over Failure to Account for Public Funds on Covid-19

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SERAP Sues Ministry of Health and NCDC Over Failure to Account for Public Funds on Covid-19

Human Rights organization, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP),  has filed a lawsuit against Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, 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.”

The lawsuit came after SERAP made a Freedom of Information (FoI) request on 27 March 2020 to the Minister of Health and the NCDC, expressing “concern that lack of transparency in the use of the funds and resources to combat COVID-19 would lead to diversion or mismanagement of funds and resources, unnecessarily cost lives, and result in serious damage to public health in the country.”

According to the suit, SERAP wants the Health Ministry and the NCDC to reveal details received from the private sector, state and federal governments, and also reveal how the funds have been used in the fight against the Covid-19 disease in Nigeria.

Publishing details of the lawsuit on it’s website, SERAP with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/616/2020 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP seeks:

1.“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.”

2.  “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.”

According to SERAP’s lawsuit: “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.”
 “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.”

 “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.” SERAP continued in the lawsuit by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Atinuke Adejuyigbe, and Opeyemi Owolabi

According to SERAP, some politicians have been taking multiple tests as NCDC has been prioritizing home testing the high and mighty while leaving the most vulneable without tests..

According to SERAP,  there have been reports of lack of transparency in use of Covid relief funds so the government has no justifiable reason to deny SERAP the information it’s requesting.

“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.”

According to SERAP’s official Twitter account, the organization  is seeking the following reliefs:
An order granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review and seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the Respondents to provide and disclose the following information to the Applicant:
A. Details of exact funds and other resources allocated by the Nigerian authorities and private sector donations to the Respondents to improve Nigeria’s health facilities to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria;

B. Details of spending and planned spending of any such funds, other resources and donations to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria;

C. Details of efforts made by the Second Respondent to make NCDC’s website functional and accessible and to publish weekly spending on initiatives by the NCDC, including on NCDC’s website;

D. Details of processes and procedures put in place to ensure that the funds, other resources and donations allocated to combat COVID-19 are not diverted, mismanaged or stolen;

E. Details of measures to protect health workers and to encourage the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people to come forward for testing and to escalate testing for this group;

F. 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

 

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Group partner chamber of commerce for increased access to finance

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Nigerian Youth Compact on COVID-19 (NYCC-19) partners Chamber of Commerce for increased access to finance

Group partner chamber of commerce for increased access to finance

The Nigerian Youth Compact on COVID-19 (NYCC-19) has partnered the Nigerian Youth Chamber of Commerce to boost access to finance from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for over 10 million youths in the country.

National Chairman of the youth compact, Malam Gambo Haruna, made the disclosure during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the training of 10 million youths, on Friday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the MoU was signed between the Youth Compact and the Nigerian Youth Chamber of Commerce with a view to facilitate access to the CBN Loan Entrepreneurship Training and Certification.

Haruna expressed optimism that the partnership would boost access to finance for over 10 million Nigerian youths to establish functional enterprises and create over 30 million jobs in the next two years.

According to him, a delegation of the Nigerian youth will be meeting with the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria within the next seven days, to develop modalities to get the project going.

Haruna explained that the partnership was strategic and timely, considering the urgency for economic recovery created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the proposed partnership would complement efforts of the government to save the economy.

The youth leader expressed hope that the partnership would stimulate MSMEs growth beyond the CÓVID-19 pandemic, create millions of jobs and contribute to non-oil revenue in the country.

Haruna said that over 50 per cent of the 200 million Nigerian population was made up of young people.

According to him, every year, over 1.8 million young people graduate from tertiary institutions.

He, however, said only 30 per cent would find some kind of employment, thereby leaving over 1.2 million graduates without jobs.

“Compound that in a generation and you have over 10 million youth unemployed, which is bigger than the population of Demark and Finland combined.

“ These are people with creative energies and aspirations to impact humanity positively.

“ It is sad, however,  that these aspirations are often cut short due to a myriad of problems from the cradle to adulthood.

“The Nigeria youth unemployment rate is projected to trend around 44 per cent in 2021.

“ The youth situation is worsened by the looming global recession as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic that has infected over 10 million people globally.”

Haruna advised government to put deliberate measures to reverse the ugly trends and cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian youth, whose fate already hangs in the balance.

He said the N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) set up by CBN to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 was laudable.

“Feedback from the field, however, shows that a critical mass of youth-led enterprises have not been able to access the facility due to set conditions,” he said.

 

The youth leader advised the government to create a special fund that would serve the needs of her burgeoning youth population.

“These needs are unique in all ramifications. There is no questioning the fact that these intervention measures have to be coordinated and driven by the organised private sector to achieve the desired impact.

“ We are at the threshold of history and the situation beckons on us to act. Surely, posterity will judge the actions we take today to build a more economically viable Nigeria,” he said.(NAN)

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Curbing Covid-19 Spread: California Set to Release 8,000 Prisoners from the State’s Prison

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Gavin Newsom

Curbing Covid-19 Spread: California Set to Release 8,000 Prisoners from the State’s Prison

California announces a plan to release about 8,000 people from the state’s prisons as a way of curbing the spread of Covid-19.

According to the Guardians, California is recording one of the worst increased outbreaks on coronavirus- specifically the northern side of the San Francisco bay.

This has created a “humanitarian crisis” at San Quentin state prison, where almost 1,500 people have tested positive for Covid-19 and seven have died.

In order to curb the historic health screw-up in the state’s prison, California has announced a plan to release up to 8,000 prisoners.

 

According to Abené Clayton, a reporter from Guardian, the Officials on Friday, July 10th announced three separate efforts, approved by the governor, Gavin Newsom, that they say will decrease the prison population by 8,ooo by the end of August.

In her tweet, she wrote;

“Today at noon CDCR announced new efforts that will lead to the release of around 8,000 people by the end of August. @GavinNewsom is expected to make a statement later today.”

“Even though this is the largest round of COVID-induced releases, it won’t be enough to bring the prison population to below 100% capacity, which advocates and public health experts insist is the only way to make enough space for social distancing.”

However, these measures mark the largest release efforts the state administration has taken since Covid-19 began to circulate among prison staff and incarcerated people;

The first initiative expands a previous effort to expedite the release of people with 180 or fewer days left on their sentences to include people serving time for serious felonies.

The second measure is an immediate review of cases of people with less than a year left to serve in eight prisons that have large populations at high risk of developing Covid-19 complications.

The state will also launch a one-time program under which those incarcerated in state prisons, including people serving time for violent felonies, will receive a credit shortening their sentences by three months.

But public health experts have told Abene that these measures will not be enough to allow for the social distancing required to bring the outbreak under control.

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NYCC-19 Partners with TradoMed Pharmaceutical Company to Fight COVID-19

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Tradomed Pharmaceutical Company, reliable partner in fighting COVID-19

The Nigerian Youth Compact on COVID-19 has described Tradomed Pharmaceutical company as a reliable partner in the fight against COVID-19.

Mallam Gambo Haruna, National Chairman of the Compact, made the remark during a courtesy visit to the management of Tradomed Pharmaceutical in Abuja on Wednesday.

Also Read: Domak Shelter Partners with NYCC-19 to Provide Jobs for Nigerian Youths

NYCC-19: ‘Free Internet Business Hub Should be Provided for Young Business Owners’- Dr. Fadila

NYCC-19: Nigerian Youths Air Their Voices on the Effect of COVID-19 (Video)

NYCC-19: ONE STOP YOUTH TALK ON COVID-19

Haruna said, the NYCC-19 was an integrated framework and mechanism for Youth Engagement and Peer Intervention Strategy (PIS), meant to sensitize and mobilize the Nigerian Youth to ensure an enhanced response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

According to him, it is also set up as a realistic and practicable Action Plan to face the emerging Post COVID-19 Economic and Social realities.

He commended the effort of Tradomed company for the humanitarian interventions it is providing for Nigerians across the country, especially during this pandemic period.

“We seek partnership with your company to be able to engage 10 million Nigerian Youths, as it is our ardent belief that the partnership will help in mitigating the spread of the corona virus in Nigeria” he added.

Contributing, Chibuike Echem, Head of States Affairs, NYCC-19, said that, NYCC-19 had structures in the 774 Local Government Areas across the Federation which according to him is a good network for partnership.

Responding, Alhaji Abbah Goji, Vice chairman of Tradomed who received the NYCC-19 Team on behalf of the chairman of the company, Dr. Abbas Waziri applauded the NYCC-19 Team for coming together to form a synergy.

He expressed optimism that such a relationship would enable the parties involved to carry out the robust idea to ensure the realisation of the aims and objectives behind the formation of the Nigerian Youth Compact on Covid-19.

The vice chairman, therefore, advised the leaders of the Compact to expand their vision beyond COVID-19 and focus more on post COVID-19, Goji encouraged them to be patient and united in carrying out their national assignment while assuring them of maximum support and partnership of the company.

One of the high points at the occasion was the donation of a pack of Tradomal Anti-Malaria Tea to the visiting NYCC team, on behalf of the company,

Tradomal Tea is produced by the Tradomed Pharmaceutical Company, a remedy for Malaria, 100 per cent natural and enjoy the certification and approval of NAFDAC.

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