The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of hiding under the umbrella of COVID-19 pandemic to loot the national treasury.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday, “cautioned officials of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to stop using the deadly COVID-19 pandemic as a gateway for corrupt profiteering and looting of our national treasury.”
The party alleged that diversion of billions of naira meant for palliatives to vulnerable citizens were already frustrating the commitment by Nigerians and other well-meaning groups in the overall effort to combat the spread of the scourge in the country.
It therefore called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to set up special squads across the country to monitor the implementation of the palliatives and bring culprits to book.
“Our party is worried over the activities of certain officials who are using the COVID-19 pandemic to create and manipulate situations that circumvent financial documentation and accountability rules and pave way for the looting of our treasury and borrowed funds, while the people are left at the mercy of the plague.
“This is in addition to anxieties that such officials are hiding under the demands of COVID-19 pandemic to mop up our international reserves as well as driving our nation into a frenzied $6.9 billion foreign borrowing, with no clear-cut terms.
“This is amidst allegations of plots by unscrupulous officials to manipulate the system and create a channel for a slush fund that will be diverted to corrupt APC leaders and the cabal, while mortgaging the future of our nation’s generation yet unborn.
“Our party fears that there are attempts to hide under COVID-19 to empty our $3.4 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) saving, thereby leaving our nation dry,” the statement read in part.
The opposition party urged the National Assembly to protect the people by immediately scaling up its oversight activities on the handling of the COVID-19 social intervention funding.
“The legislators must ensure clauses that guarantee transparency and accountability, particularly in drawing from our treasury as well as in approving any further foreign loans for the Buhari administration, are enshrined in Act.
“Furthermore, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) should set up special squads across the country to monitor the implementation of the palliatives and bring culprits to book.
“The safety and wellbeing of Nigerians must be paramount at this critical time.
“While it is obvious that the Buhari administration seeks to use the challenges posed by the coronavirus disease as an excuse for its mismanagement of the economy, which it had wrecked before the outbreak of the pandemic, our party firmly rejects the attempt by rogues in government circles to use the scourge to ‘cash out’ our treasury and further destroy our economy.
“This is especially as the APC administration is reputed to be a haven of corrupt individuals, scammers, treasury looters, certificate forgers, election riggers, blackmailers, purveyor of fake news and violators of rule of law and court orders,” the PDP said.
It called on Nigerians to note that while a handful of citizens “have not acknowledged receiving such funds and officials involved have not been able to account for the disbursement, humongous figures are already being bandied to have been spent.”
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