The global community is racing to slow down and eventually halt the spread of COVID-19, a pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives and sickened tens of thousands of others. The Nigeria Government and health authorities are striving to limit the widespread of the virus and as such the government has come up with palliative to assist Nigerians in other to cushion the effect of the pandemic.
In light of this, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) in partnership with Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) with support from MacArthur Foundation, on the Gender and Accountability Project (GAP_C) held a tweet chat on 8th April 2020 on COVID-19 and the demand for accountability in Nigeria.
The tweet chat centered around transparency and accountability of the government in the fight against COVID-19 so far, and also critically and objectively looking at the accountability measures if they have been adequately applied in the disbursement and utilization of funds and items received so far for the COVID-19 pandemic and how impactful the measures have been for women and other marginalized groups.
The tweet chat gave participants the opportunity to sufficiently lend their voices to the discussion with Anisah Ari of WRAPA a social justice advocate who was the guest of the tweet chat. Some of the issues raised during the chat were as follows: how the outbreak of corona virus presents a deadlier outbreak – corruption; the lack in accountability of funds received for the pandemic affects women disproportionately; beyond the provision of facilities and other materials to tackle the epidemic, there is a need to provide evidence on the use of resources provided; some emerging corruption trends that are associated with the disease outbreak in Nigeria and key steps and recommendations that the government can take towards ensuring proper accountability in the utilisation of donated funds and items.
Recommendations include: the government should use the outbreak of the pandemic to effect systemic changes in the health sector, a clear accountability mechanism structure in partnership with Civil Society Organizations, women and PWDs should be set up to track and monitor the utilization of resources committed to the COVID-19, vulnerable women should be prioritized in palliative measures to cushion their loss of income, ensure strict adherence to regulatory procedures, secure equity in access for all citizens without restrictions, safeguard the justice system and deter fraud, include Civil Society, more Women and PWDs in the process.
The twitter chat using hashtag #genderandaccountability, was an all interactive session which generated robust online engagements in an hour and trended as number two (2) in Nigeria during the scheduled period.