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SERAP demands probe of discovered COVID19 relief materials

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, says it has asked the ICPC to promptly, thoroughly and transparently probe alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses across the country.

The public interest think-tank said the items ought to have been distributed to the poorest and most vulnerable people during the lockdown.

Peoples Gazette reported widespread looting of warehouses storing COVID-19 palliatives in several states.

SERAP in the October 24 petition sent to the chairman of ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, directed 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.

SERAP emphasised that 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.

Tracking, monitoring, and ensuring COVID-19 palliatives are timely, effectively, and efficiently distributed to those most in need would improve transparency and accountability, respect for human rights, as well as remove the possibility of political considerations or bribery, SERAP added.

The discovery of the alleged hoarded COVID19 palliative came amidst a campaign against police brutality.

However, several deaths and properties destroyed have been reported during the looting of the hoarded COVID palliative, Peoples Gazette reported.

Politicians have been accused of hoarding the donated supplies with intention to resell them at a later time for financial gains.

In Osun, officials said the items were not kept away by those with intention to resell them later, but distribution to residents was delayed because of a lack of approval from Abuja. A state official warned in Ekiti that some of the looted items were poisonous.

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