Corruption impedes disbursement of relief materials to flood victims- Groups

Corruption and bureaucratic bottleneck stops flood victims from assessing relief material and funds.

 

Relief funds and materials are not reaching flood victims across the country due to “bureaucratic bottlenecks and corruption” civil society groups have observed.

UK-based Tearfund, and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, said in a statement that “lack of transparency and accountability in the use of relief funds and materials have continued to exacerbate the suffering and misery” of those displaced by the flood.

The groups described the situation of the victims, most of whom have lost all their possessions, as “double jeopardy”.

They called for a joint investigation into the disbursement of the funds and relief material by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to “ensure that critical resources and funds are not diverted, and also prosecute any allegations of corruption.”

To effectively do this, the groups advised the anti-corruption agencies to establish a toll-free hotline to receive complaint from members of the public.

The statement called on President Goodluck Jonathan to provide leadership and ensure that the victims are taken care of. It also called for more commitment on the part of state governments in providing for the needs of the displaced people.

“Both the federal government and the states affected will have to demonstrate they can spend relief funds transparently and well if they want to really provide the much needed assistance to victims of the massive floods, and help in rebuilding the suffering communities,” the statement noted

The groups further asked for more community involvement in the decision making process and in the disbursement of relief materials.

“The federal and state authorities must involve affected communities, including women and vulnerable and marginalized social groups, in decisions relating to relief and reconstruction at all stages of the process.

“Both authorities should swiftly establish and fully fund community support programmes to assist in the rebuilding of community infrastructure and the restoration of livelihoods and human rights,” they said.

The groups also observed that the funds made available so far by the government are inadequate due to the intensity of the situation.

“The reported government reliefs fund of around N17 billion given by the Federal Government to the states, and around N300 million given to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is ridiculously small given the number of people and communities that have been so far affected,” they stated

The widespread flood across the country has rendered hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

According to NEMA, over 431 lives have been lost and food scarcity looms as several hectares of farmlands and livestock have been washed away by the flood.


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