April 30, 2020

COVID-19: PDP queries PTF Over N5bn Presidential grant to NCDC

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

…Says fund should be channelled to research, drugs, equipment

By Dirisu Yakubu

 The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Wednesday,  asked the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 to immediately account for the N5 billion released by President Muhammadu Buhari, as special intervention fund to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, as a testament to the administration much-talked-about transparency.

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This is as the party noted that its demand was predicated on allegations that the PTF has shrouded the funds in unnecessary administrative bottlenecks and unwarranted political control, which are impeding the smooth running of activities of the NCDC.

A statement signed by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan read: “PDP is very worried over the recent frightening complains by the NCDC that it was in desperate need of essential COVID-19 extraction kits required to tackle the pandemic and safeguard Nigerians at this critical time.

“This is in addition to the failure by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to urgently mobilize homegrown researches into COVID-19 therapeutics, including drugs, equipment and essential kits to combat the spread of the virus in our communities. 

“The PDP, therefore, demands that the PTF should immediately come clean on the whereabouts of the fund as well as explain why it had failed to heed to calls by Nigerians to engage indigenous researchers, virologist and manufacturers for homegrown solutions, particularly in the production of drugs, test kits as well as ventilators, despite the huge resources at its disposal.

“It is hoped that the NCDC intervention fund has not been funnelled into the control of an alleged corrupt cabal in the PTF, where it will be difficult for the Center to promptly access.

“Our party is concerned that the PTF had not demonstrated the required capacity towards solutions beyond its daily media show, a complication of figures and needless photo-ops, while the pandemic continues to spread in our country.

“The PDP notes that this was the reason it demanded the immediate reorganization of the PTF to eliminate all underlining political impediments and allow our known experts to step in and effectively galvanize our public and private institutions for a solution. 

“As a party, we restate our confidence in our indigenous scientists, medical and virology experts and caution that the current over-dependence on foreign interventions is not in the best interest of our nation.

 “The PDP, therefore, calls on President Buhari to demand an account of the funds so far released for the pandemic as well as immediately channel the required investments towards indigenous research for the production of treatment drugs, vaccines, ventilators and other essential kits, especially as the nation witnesses a spike of the pandemic.

There have been calls by civil society organizations and the media in the past few weeks on the Presidential Taskforce to ensure judicious use of intervention funds received from Nigerians, government and the international community, to curtail and contain the spread of the Coronavirus, in the past few weeks.