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POST COVID-19 FUNDS: Presidential aide slams Falana, says his criticism a misrepresentation of facts



The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, has described criticisms by a human right activist, Femi Falana’s (SAN) of N135 billion post COVID-19 reimbursement given to 36 states in December, as a misrepresentation of facts.

Ajayi, in a statement issued, on Wednesday, in Lagos, noted that Falana, in a video which has since gone viral on social media platforms alluded to the sum of N135 billion given to the 36 states in December 2023 at a memorial event in honour of Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti.

He admonished Falana to criticise constructively with facts.

Ajayi said : “What the Lagos lawyer rendered in that trending video is total misrepresentation of facts.

“He also did not tell his audience the real reason the said amount was released to the states under the World Bank-funded NG-CARES Programme.

“Contrary to the wrong impression of wasteful and frivolous spending being conveyed to the public by Falana, it should be stressed that it is the Lagos lawyer who needs to get himself acquainted with the issue in contention.

“Post-COVID-19, the World Health Organisation and World Bank are still supporting countries to strengthen their health systems and emergency preparedness.

“This is so that nations can be in much better position to deal with other public health emergencies that may occur in future.

“Just last year, there was an outbreak of Diphtheria, monkeypox, and Lassa Fever in more than 20 states in Nigeria that government effectively contained.

READ ALSO: Falana leads Lagos NBA in protest against harassment of lawyers by police

“In a bid to further manage the aftermath of COVID-19 in line with the framework of the WHO and the World Bank, the Federal Government, in December 2023, disbursed N135.4 billion to the states.

“The money, which Falana attempted to scandalise in the viral video, was released to address the social and economic crisis created by the pandemic.

“This is not peculiar to Nigeria. Every country in the world today is still dealing with many socio-economic problems caused by COVID-19.”

Ajayi added that the purpose of the NG-CARES Programme as backed by the World Bank and implemented in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was meant to mitigate the economic and social shocks faced by vulnerable people.

He averred that the project was structured as one that delivered results.

He added that it was only states that had implemented the programme according to laid-down procedures prescribed in the Financing Agreement, the Funds Release Policy, and the Independent Verification Agent Protocol that got reimbursement for the money spent already.

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