A Nigerian agency, the National Agency for Food and Administration Control (NAFDAC) in an act that has helped undermined public accountability and has hugely undermined growuth and development in Nigeria, has refused to account for the sum of N2 billion it collected from the Federal Ministry of Finance as part of the COVID-19 intervention project.
In a desperate move to ensure it does not account for the huge funds received, NAFDAC has since refused to respond to the Freedom of Information (FOI) request of over N2 billion it got from the Federal Ministry of Finance as a COVID-19 Intervention Fund.
NAFDAC while accessing the sum of N2 billion from the Finance Ministry, claimed it will use it to build testing laboratories for its facility upgrade.
However, MAWA Foundation in its public accountability project, had since November 5, 2021, written a Freedom of Information (FO1) to the agency, requesting information on how it utilized the N2 billion COVID-19 Intervention Fund it got from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Request NAFDAC has since refused to respond, and this is even though the agency has an obligation under the law to respond to the FOI within a seven days period.
In the FOI request, MAWA asked NAFDAC to
- Make available the name of the company that was awarded the contract to build laboratories it got allocation to carry out
- The report of procurement/tender bid leading to the selection of the company that carried out the job
- Bank statement of payments made to the company regarding the contract execution.
Despite that the FOI Act 2011, mandates NAFDAC to make available the information sought within a seven days period from the time it received our letter, the agency has since refused to respond, despite our follow-up with the office.
NAFDAC is not the only offender, across Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) civil servants continue to demonstrate arrogance in the abuse of the FOI Act. An action they carefully adapt to undermine and frustrate public accountability.