By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the National Assembly to comprehensively scrutinize the overall profile of the N500 billion proposed by the Federal Government as intervention fund against the COVID-19 pandemic so as to ensure that the fund reached the desired target.
The PDP gave the charge in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
The party urged the legislature to examine the expenditure layout and put adequate clauses to eliminate diversion, ensure prudence as well as guarantee broad-based transparency in target-specific disbursements across all need areas in the fight against the pandemic.
The PDP’s explained that its call is predicated on apprehensions in the public space over allegations of fraudulent diversion of fund in the recent disbursement of N20,000 social palliatives, with many Nigerians rejecting the figures put out by the Federal Government.
The party therefore urged the National Assembly to demand the Federal government to furnish it with details of how the N500bn would be spent; what amount would be spent on interventions on individuals and families as well as a template that guarantees that the fund gets to the targeted vulnerable Nigerians.
According to the statement, “The PDP insists that such information should also include details of what each state of the federation gets; the parameters for allocations, the monitoring system as well as foolproof measures to plug all loopholes and check fraud.
“The Federal Government needs to place these details before the National Assembly. This money, which is to be mopped up from various special government accounts, belongs to Nigerians. As such, the National Assembly must ensure that it is fully utilised for their wellbeing”, it said.
The PDP therefore urged the National Assembly to instill checks and balances by providing that the implementation must involve trusted and transparent eminent Nigerians from the private sector to further guarantee accountability and overall confidence of Nigerians in the scheme.
The PDP further called on the National Assembly to direct a quick investigation into allegations of fraudulent diversion of palliative money in the cash disbursement of N20,000 to some Nigerians, by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouk.
“This investigation has become imperative given allegations that the resort to cash disbursement directly by a minister instead of using cash disbursement facilities by the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN), is part of the design to manipulate the system, stifle accountability and pave way for the alleged syphoning of huge chunk of the funds”, the party declared.
The PDP urged the National Assembly to order the minister to immediately account for the money, given outcry by Nigerians that bulk of the fund did not get to designated beneficiaries.