BEING A PRESS STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA STUDENTS (NANS) ON COVID-19 PANDEMIC, APRIL 10, 2020
The National Association of Nigeria Student (NANS) wish to commend the effort and achievement of all stakeholders working toward ensuring Nigeria is COVID-19 free.
Particularly, we note and commend the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on the decisive action to release palliative fund and materials in the face of the pandemic. Mr. President has again proved to us that he is a dependable leader and reliable father that care about the people of Nigeria.
Again, we reaffirm our support to President Mohammadu Buhari and his administration.
However, we note just as every other responsive organizations with great concern as follows;
*The pattern of accountability and transparency in the disbursement of the Palliative fund and materials
*Fire outbreak in the Treasury House
*Invitation of Chinese into the Country
* Non inclusion of Youth in the national response against Covid-19.
*Present state of health sector in Nigeria.
Without pretence, NANS note with sadness the pattern of transparency and accountability in the disbursement of the Palliative fund and materials. We condemn in totality the pattern of disbursement so far as claimed by the PTF and FMHSD. The process is not transparent and does not get to the vulnerable people as claimed while no one knows where those mentioned billions have been spent since the palliative measures began.
Should we continue like this, people will die in hunger, and we don’t want to have a situation we will begin to have kwashiorkor in the country or young people taking to crimes and breaking laws all in a bid to survive. As integral part of the society, we cannot proudly claim to have seen or have access to data's of those that have collected from the Covid-19 palliative measures. Information at our disposal revealed that while government earmarked N20, 000 for the vulnerable Nigerians, a paltry N10,000 was disbursed in carefully selected remote rural areas. Information reaching us further revealed that they are trying to conjure fake data to cover up to show that they have given to large numbers of people. All concern must be ready to render account of their stewardship in this trying moment of our national life.
The fire outbreak at the treasury house at a time of national lockdown is condemnable, we hereby issue a 72 hours ultimatum to the authorities concerned to conduct investigation into what led to the fire incident. The Minister of Finance and indeed the gutted Accountant General's office told Nigerians and the world that all beneficiaries of the Covid-19 palliative policy are safely captured in a data upon the query by the National Assembly on the accountability and reach of the management of Covid-19 finances; unfortunately, less than 24 hours after, a strange fire engulfed the Accountant General's office. This is not acceptable to Nigerians, and we state categorically that that building is a national asset which no person or group of person have right to destroy for cover up or connivance.
Importantly, the issue of invitation and subsequent airlifting of Chinese medical personnel's is an affront on the hard-working, efficient and reliable Nigerians who gave their best, patriotically since the outbreak of Covid-19. NANS aligns with the Nigeria Medical Association and condemn the invitation of Chinese nationals into the country; demand information about their whereabouts and seek their immediate repatriation.
Curiously, upon their unwelcome arrival, Nigeria recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases, is there any nexus?
We appreciate their humanitarian support, but we don’t need their personnel because our healthcare practitioners are capable to manage the situation.
The participation and main-streaming of young Nigerians on issues that affect their lives is an inalienable right, we demand for immediate inclusion of NANS and youth organizations in the Presidential Task Force and equally demand for mobilization of health related students to serve as ad hoc staff or supportive staff to enable them to gain experience now and for the future.
The present health sector of the country is another great area of concern to us, we condemn the decrepit state of the health sector in the country as this has again exposed our country as a nation still experimenting with quality healthcare facilities for overall citizens benefit.
We reiterate our call for deliberate overall development of the health sector in Nigeria and call for the establishment of at least one model health care center in each of the 774 LGA' s in Nigeria with modern equipments.
Accordingly, NANS and indeed Nigerians after due thorough observation unanimously aver as follows:
1. That all stakeholders that are involved in the Covid-19 – 19 should be transparent and prepare to give their account of stewardship of the palliative materials both in money and materials.
2. That fund and relieve material should be disbursed through national based CSOs with proving integrity and grassroots presence across the country. Such as Women group, youth group and religious organisations among others.
3. That the government is given 72 hours ultimatum to conduct investigation into what led to the fire incidence or burning down of the treasury house.
4. That while we demand to know the whereabouts of the imported Chinese personnel's, they should be deported immediately.
5. That NANS and other youth bodies should be included in the Presidential Task Force and health related students be mobilized to serve as ad hoc staff or supportive staff.
6. That while state of emergency should be declared on our health sector, there is an impending need for the establishment of at least a modern well-equipped model health care center in each of LGAs in Nigeria should be embarked upon immediately.
Comrade Danielson Akpan