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Obiano Spent N1b In The Moon And Not On Coronavirus Protective Equipment

By Emeka Umeagbalasi

Onitsha, 1st April 2020: It is categorically clear that the N1b claimed by the Obiano led Government of Anambra State to have been spent on ‘proactive’ procurement of Coronavirus prevention equipment was only spent in the moon. Recall that our organization, Intersociety had yesterday; 31st March 2020 issued a detailed statement warning that Coronavirus eruption in Nigeria or any part thereof is likely to have become another opportunity for official criminal enrichment and state sadism in the country.

Barely twenty-four hours after, being today, 1st April 2020, the Punch Newspaper published a news report from the Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, claiming that ‘about N1b has been spent by the Government of Anambra State in procuring personal protective equipment against Coronavirus’.

The Anambra State Government went ahead and listed the items as “protective clothing (over-all safety clothes), helmets, goggles, facemasks, hand-gloves and other garments/equipment designed to protect against Coronavirus”. The SSG also said that ‘out of the State’s estimated population of seven million citizens, the Government has procured the equipment for 3m of them’.

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Intersociety Boss Reacts: “This is nothing short of a total vindication of us at Intersociety. This is more so when the country is led by ‘conflict and disaster profiteers’. I can categorically and expertly tell you that the N1b was spent in the moon and not on anti Coronavirus equipment. First, those items mentioned are sold at the Tools & Allied Market and their remainder at its neighboring Surgical Market of the Onitsha Niger Bridgehead Central Market.

I was brought to that Tools & Allied Market in late 1983 as a teen for apprenticeship and have remained there from the year of my settlement in 1993 till date and I can tell you that no other market sells those equipment in industrial quantity and cheaper anywhere in Anambra or beyond than the Tools & Allied Market. A supply of those items worth N300m will dry all the items in the Market, not to talk of N1b.

Facemasks, for instance, were so scarce in the Market and Lagos that it is very difficult to purchase 100 cartons of same today. Packed 2000 pieces in a carton, it now goes for N92, 000 per carton, from N10, 000 to N14, 000 it used to be sold way back in January 2020; all owing to acute scarcity of same since then. It is therefore all lies; maybe those items purchased at N1b were procured from the firmament or moon!

Talking about ‘purchasing each set of the items for 3m citizens in the State’, valued at about N1b, this is another barefaced lie. For instance, by present market value, a maximum sum of N15, 000 is required to kit each of the 3m citizens; as in: a set of protective cloth (over-all safety wear) at maximum of N2, 500, a pair of safety boot at maximum of N5,000, a helmet at N1,500, a pair of goggle (safety eyeglass) at N500, a pair of hand glove at N500 and 20 pieces of nose mask at N5000 (N250 each) or a piece of clinic’s facemask sold at N3,000.

That is to say that contrary to claims by the Government of Anambra State, it will cost a total of N45b to kit 3m citizens in the State and not ‘N1b’. For instance, with N15, 000 for each citizen multiply by 100,000 citizens, N1.5b will be spent and for 3m citizens, a total of N45b will be spent. With these, the Government of Anambra State has fed the State citizens with lies of unpardonable proportion.

Further, contrary to claims by the Government of Anambra State, nowhere, not even in the warehouse of the State Emergency Management Agency-SEMA, through media enquiries, was found a carton of the said procured items, not to talk of trailer-loads of same that would have equaled the said “N1b’ purchases. A 40-feet trailer-container worth of the listed items is valued at N20m and N1b, if it is 50 container-loads of 40-feet or 50 trailers.

Our checks as to whether ‘the procured items have been shared to the 3m State citizens’ proved abortive as no traces were recorded concerning same. ‘The State Government procured safety items’, if shared, would have arithmetically resulted to “1m citizen-beneficiaries per Senatorial District” out of the State’s three Senatorial Districts. We challenge the Government of Anambra State to show us the warehouses where the 50 trailers of 40-feet containers are kept or the 3m citizens that already received them or given a set of the items each.

Generally speaking, we are not aware of any citizen of the State that has benefited anything either cash or material or medical from the State Government as it concerns the Coronavirus incentives and their management. It is left for the Government of the State to speak credibly and factually on what it has actually done with respect to Coronavirus prevention and its management including who and who has benefited and in what manner-medically, materially or cash wise”.

Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

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