SERAP asks ICPC to probe ‘alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in several states

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to “promptly, thoroughly, transparently and effectively investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses in several states, which ought to have been distributed to the poorest and most vulnerable people during the lockdown, and to publish the outcome of any such investigation.”

SERAP’s petition followed reports that some people have discovered and taken away COVID-19 palliatives stored in warehouses in several states. SERAP in the petition sent to Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, ICPC, asked the agency to “ensure the prompt and effective prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of hoarding and diversion of the palliatives.”

In the petition dated 24 October 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “It would seem that Nigerian authorities asked people to stay at home as a protective lockdown measure but then failed to discharge a legal responsibility to timely, effectively, and transparently distribute COVID-19 palliatives to ease the hardship faced by the poorest and most vulnerable people.”

SERAP also said: “Unless promptly investigated, the allegations of hoarding and diversion would undermine public trust in any efforts to bring the spread of the pandemic under control, exacerbate the negative impact of the crisis, and deny those most in need access to basic necessities of life.”

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