Itse Sagay

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), has condemned reports of corruption that have characterised the distribution of palliatives across the country.

Sagay says he believes the lockdown should be relaxed now, advising that the use of face masks and enforcement of social distancing should be intensified in public places as a better alternative to containing the spread of the virus.

He spoke in an interview with SaharaReporters on Thursday.

When asked if the lockdown should be relaxed or extended as recommended by the Nigerian Governors Forum, the professor of law said, “The situation in the country is a bit tensed and with a lot of people who normally earn their living from day-to-day increasing and with this tension of one million boys threatening the populace because of this lockdown. 

“We’ve had almost one month of lockdown, I believe the next stage now would be to open up the space and insist that everybody who wants to go out should have wear a face mask; that will be sufficient protection.

“If they can do that, there is no reason people should not go out.

“Also, we should observe social distancing when we are in public, not cling to each other, queuing and giving a distance between each person in banks, shops, supermarkets and so on, with those precaution.”

Asked to react to the corruption that had trailed the distribution of palliatives especially complaints of diversion of relief materials by politicians, Sagay said, “Already, we have those who are registered on the social register for the Social Investment Programme, there should be no problem in supplying those people because their address, telephone numbers, everything about them are available to the government. Where we are going to have problem are those who in trouble now, who need help and need to be included in this palliatives and these needs to be done properly.

“I have heard that some local government officials are asking for party cards, that is clearly illegal and definitely condemnable because hunger and party is not limited to one party and the other, it is supposed to be for everybody.

“It’s for the government now to have a group of people monitoring the way these things are being distributed to make sure that the good intentions of government are not distorted by people who have their own private motives, particularly to ensure that those who can take care of themselves do not greedily begin to grab these items that are meant for poor people.”

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