Exclusive: FG May Probe Governors Over N50 Billion COVID-19 Intervention To States

Underground calls are coming from political circles and inside the Presidency for the Federal Government to thorough probe the over N50 billion shared to states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as interventions to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call is coming at the heels of SERAP’s petition to President Muhammadu Buhari to probe N4.5 billion Covid-19 fund to Kogi state.

The Federal Government at the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic doled out N10 billion to Lagos, N5 billion to Kano and N1 billion each to the other 34 state governors and the minister of the FCT to support their efforts during the critical stages of the pandemic.

“It is important for the governors to come out to account for these huge sums of money given to them by the Federal Government to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. It is public money and Nigerians deserve to know how the money was utilized by the governors,” a top member of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 told our correspondent recently.

The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said fillers from some of the states showed that the money were used by the governors for purposes other than Covid-19 and therefore called for a probe of the utilization of the money.

“Each state of the 34 states have accessed N1billion naira  plus and an additional sums. The two states that got more are Lagos N10 billion and Kano N5 billion.  I think they should be told to account for it”, the source said adding that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) “is still working on additional vaccine support fund but it takes a process”.

“I think it is important for people to know what the over N50 billion given to the governors for the Covid-19 were really spent on before doling our another intervention money to them except the Federal Government just want to continue to be Father Christmas,” a top Presidency source said.

The call for the probe is coming at the heels of the Federal Government’s moves to inject yet another N3.7 billion for COVID-19 vaccine roll out in the states.

With the new arrangement, our correspondent gathered that the  Federal Government is expected to give out N100 million to each state Governor and the Minister of the FCT for COVID-19 vaccine management, a move seen by top Presidency sources as another round of personal financial gifts to some governors.

Asked if the N100 million was the last intervention to states on Covid-19 management, the source said “honestly it is strictly work in progress and it’s with FMOH not PTF. PTF develops only policy and guidelines to the national response. It also ensures that states have their incident Action Plans. The FG decides what it wants to give or not give in consultation with the NGF”.