Group calls for probe of Ebonyi palliative sharing by EFCC, ICPC


Concerned by the spate of spending of public funds in Ebonyi State, a diaspora group, Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora (AESID), has called on anti-graft agencies to monitor closely the sharing of another COVID-19 palliative in the state, Daily Times gathered.

The group specifically called on the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) among other relevant agencies to come to the rescue of the state.

In a statement signed Tuesday by its President (Worldwide) Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, the association expressed worries on the way the current administration in Ebonyi continued to manage what it described as scarce resources in the state.

The group claimed it has information that the state government is about to spend another ₦4 billion as ‘Second phase palliative’ to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“AESID, therefore, call on the relevant anti-graft agencies whose mandates include monitoring and forestalling of financial crimes to beam its light very brightly on the Ebonyi state government to uncover, expose this obvious plot to swindle the poor State of its scarce resources in the guise of palliatives.

“The Ebonyi State government should be made to account for the various sums ordinarily meant for the development of the state which has officially been reported to the anti-graft agencies as having been diverted.

“We at AESID are quite disturbed about the way and manner the Ebonyi state government has continued to mismanage the scare resources of our poor state without any scintilla of accountability. We hold this view because the Umahi-led administration to the best of our knowledge is yet to give any account of an earlier approval of ₦4 billion it made in July this year which it had christened ‘palliatives for Ebonyians.’

“Of course, we still recall the hues and cries of the Ebonyi poor masses over the extremely bizarre food items which included few sachets of noodles shared to just a hand-few of particularly party loyalists in the guise of palliatives after a very protracted period by the government. As a non-interest group whose mandate remains to continue to hold state actors accountable, AESID is calling on the Ebonyi state government to halt the proposed plan to lavish another whopping ₦4 billion under the façade of COVID-19 palliatives.

“Rather, the government should first of all account for its management of the earlier sum approved and released as palliatives. It should show accountability by detailing the masses with how the same was expended. We say so because of our vehement suspicion that the COVID-19 has since its outbreak in the country become for Governor Umahi and indeed some other Nigerian leaders a huge business and the most unsuspecting means to loot and divert lean resources accruing to the States they govern.

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“Otherwise, how can Ebonyi State that never recorded more COVID-19 cases than states like Lagos claim to have now proposed to spend over ₦8 billion? What kind of palliatives would take away over ₦4 billion from the coffers of a government with lean allocation like that of our dear Ebonyi State? There is actually nothing less to suspect except to conclude that this is not just another hoax but another masterfully-designed plot by the Governor Umahi administration to siphon Ebonyi’s poor treasury!”

Assuring the people of Ebonyi of fair criticism of the government, AESID said: “We shall continue to do all within the ambits of the law, the principles of fairness, equity and natural justice to protect and defend their interests at all times even as they pass through this difficult era of deceptions, lies and vicious propaganda.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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