Femi Falana, rights activist and lawyer, has asked the Nigerian Government to apologise for hoarding COVID-19 palliatives meant to be distributed to vulnerable citizens at the peak of the pandemic.
Some Nigerians in places like Lagos, Jos, Kaduna, Calabar, Ilorin, Ibadan and the FCT have recently discovered and began to cart away food items designated as COVID-19 relief.
Falana while speaking in an interview, equated the hoarding of the relief materials with crimes against humanity.
Femi Falana (SAN)
He said, “It’s almost like a crime against humanity. Just like some public officers have diverted money meant for providing palliatives meant for people who have been displaced in their homes, internally displaced people.
“How can you hoard? It’s intolerable, it’s provocative. Our government will have to apologise to the Nigerian people. Look at the crowds in Jos. How do you avoid stampedes? And stampedes have happened in some places. Lives have been lost needlessly.
“What level of stealing is this? Members of the ruling class in Nigeria will have to have a serious rethink. In looting the treasury of the country, there are areas you must not get to.
“You can see the ordinary people; they went to look for covid-19 palliatives. Nobody can explain the hoarding of such items meant for the poor. Not bought by the government but bought from money contributed by people in the private sector to help the poor.
“The government must be very careful that you don’t provoke the people to violence, and those are the lessons we have to learn.
“Every Nigerian is entitled to the protection of his or her life or property. Once due to negligence, due to lack of proper policing, the government must pay. As a matter of law, if anybody dies, the family member has the right to make a claim.
“The government has a duty to compensate those who have lost their properties, breadwinners- that is the position of the law.”
SaharaReporters, New York