COVID is huge business in Nigeria, people became billionaires from COVID-19 Funds – Lawmaker

February 2, 2021
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A legislator in Nigeria’s National Assembly has raised an alarm that coronavirus has turned a huge business for certain people in Nigeria, agitating that individuals have become billionaires from managing coronavirus funds. The lawmaker expressed concerns that the financial fortunes from coronavirus funds have made Nigerians question the reality of coronavirus infection in the country.

Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, representing Ukwa East and Ukwa West Federal constituency, Abia State, in the House of Representatives, on the morning programme of Channels Television, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, monitored by National Daily from Lagos, said the 2020 disbursement for COVID-19 funds in Nigeria were misappropriated.

The lawmaker expressed total support for the House of Representatives which disclosed that its readiness to conduct an investigation into how the N83.9 billion appropriated for the response to COVID-19 in the 2020 Appropriation Act was spent.

Hon. Nkem-Abonta was of the view that if the misappropriation is not controlled, more Nigerians will struggle to believe that COVID-19 is real. He noted that citizens feel exploited by those managing the coronavirus infection, which he added has been creating more doubts or disbelief.

The lawmaker had declared: “In Nigeria, COVID came to become a huge business.

“It became something that the ordinary man couldn’t understand. It became something that the ordinary man felt exploited.

“From the beginning of the COVID till now, we only hear billions of naira and we can’t say exactly how these funds went. At a point, we were told that States must declare COVID to get some billions. Kogi is an example. So, if 80 point something billion cannot be accounted for, then, Representatives must, in their usual manner, inquire into it.

“I pray that at the end of the inquiry, the results and findings should be made public.”

Hon. Nkem-Abonta further declared: “I am aware that there are a lot of funny things happening around the COVID funds and the operator of COVID funds. I am aware that people became billionaires out of COVID proceeds, out of COVID transactions. You saw what happened during the palliatives scandal and scramble. So, it’s a whole chain going on and I pray that control should be put to it.

“We should not use COVID funds at the expense of those who should get the (relief). If you go out there, most people will tell you we don’t believe in COVID because it’s business, because they are also seeing COVID-related funds being used in a manner to benefit very few and not treat the virus.

“If we continue this way, then, COVID may not leave us at all. Because people distrust the operators meant to stop COVID, people don’t have belief in them, because of the way the funds are being used.”

 

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