SERAP Sues Ministry of Health and NCDC over Covid19 Funds

SERAP Sues NCDC and Ministry of Health

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 suit comes after SERAP made a Freedom of Information (FoI)

request on 27 March 2020 to the Minister of Health and the NCDC,

Further 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.”

Meanwhile 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.

SERAP Sues NCDC and Ministry of Health

SERAP sues Ministry of Health and NCDC over over failure to account for Covid-19 money

SERAP sues Ministry of Health and NCDC over over failure to account for Covid-19 money

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.”

However According to SERAP 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 them 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.