SOCIO-cultural group the Northern Elders Forum (Nef) has accused several state governors in Nigeria of falsifying figures when it comes to the number of people affected by the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to qualify them for relief money.
Across Nigeria, 1,932 have been affected, of which 58 have died, with Lagos being the most affected state with 976 persons, followed by Kano with 219. To help mitigate the impact of the crisis, the federal government, private donors and international aid agencies have been contributing money and equipment to the affected states but according to the Nef, this has led to abuse.
Nef spokesman Professor Ango Abdullahi, alleged that some governors in northern Nigeria were playing politics with coronavirus to get money. Commending the individuals and corporate organisations for the donations they made, Professor Abdullahi asked that the federal government put all assistance rendered to proper use.
Professor Abdullahi said: “The forum regrets the appearance of attempts by many state governments to play politics with numbers for what appears to be expectations that more funds from federal government and foreign donors will be allocated to them. It is public knowledge that what the entire nation needs are good policies that protect all Nigerians, equipment and facilities for testing and treatment and resources to support people who will find it hard to stay at home without some palliatives during lockdown.
“The forum acknowledges the assistance in funds and equipment from the international community. These gestures of support for our efforts at a time when they face their own problems are particularly appreciated and it is important that our governments put them to prompt and effective use.
“The forum similarly appreciates the tremendous assistance of Nigerian individuals and corporate bodies in this fight. We hope that all governments will utilise the vast assets in expertise, goodwill and integrity available in the private sector and professional groups and individuals in the country and involve them in all stages in the fight against this pandemic.
He added that policies that waste progress in some parts of the country and others which trample on the rights of vulnerable groups must be discouraged. According to Professor Abdullahi, states should adopt policies that suit their peculiarities but the nation as a whole must agree on and implement basic policies that protect the entire population.
“In particular, we commend the decision to deploy a strong medical team to, among others, verify the causes of many deaths that are being popularly attributed to the pandemic as well as assist the government of Kano State to improve its facilities, investigate and treat suspected infections and those who are infected,” Professor Abdullahi added.