Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, charged the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to account for the N5 billion released by President Muhammadu Buhari as special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
The PDP, in statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said its demand was predicated on allegations that the PTF shrouded the funds in unnecessary administrative bottlenecks.
It noted that the alleged unwarranted political control was impeding the smooth running of activities of the NCDC. The party stated that it was worried over recent complaints by the NCDC that it was desperate need of essential COVID-19 extraction kits required to tackle the pandemic and safeguard the citizenry at this critical time.
According to the PDP, this was in addition to alleged failure “by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to urgently mobilise home-grown researches into COVID-19 therapeutics, including drugs, equipment and essential kits to combat the spread of the virus in our communities.”
Consequently, the opposition party charged the PTF to “come clean on the whereabouts of the fund as well as explain why it had failed to heed to calls by Nigerians to engage indigenous researchers, virologist and manufacturers for home-grown solutions, particularly in the production of drugs, text kits as well as ventilators, despite the huge resources at its disposal.”
The PDP added that “it is hoped that the NCDC intervention fund has not been funnelled into the control of an alleged corrupt cabal in the PTF, where it will be difficult for the centre to promptly access.
“Our party is concerned that the PTF had not demonstrated the required capacity towards solutions beyond its daily media show, compilation of figures and needless photo-ops, while the pandemic continues to spread in our country.
“The PDP notes that this was the reason it demanded for the immediate reorganization of the PTF to eliminate all underlining political impediments and allow our known experts to step in and effectively galvanize our public and private institutions for solution.
“As a party, we restate our confidence in our indigenous scientists, medical and virology experts and caution that the current over-dependence on foreign interventions is not in the best interest of our nation.
“The PDP, therefore, calls on President Buhari to demand for an account of the funds so far released for the pandemic as well as immediately channel the required investments towards indigenous research for production of treatment drugs, vaccines, ventilators and other essential kits, especially as the nation witnesses a spike of the pandemic.”