Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has condemned the hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives donated to cushion the effect of the pandemic on indigent Nigerians.
Describing the action as almost a crime against humanity, Falana, during an interview, demanded an apology from the government, while calling for compensation for families of those who may have died while scrambling for the relief items stored at different warehouses.
“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,” said the human rights activist.
“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.”
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