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  • Updated: March 29, 2021

We Only Spent N890,000 On COVID-19 Software – Yahaya Bello

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Adedayo Babatunde
Adedayo Babatunde

Adedayo Babatunde is a seasoned journalist and an enthusiastic organic writer, who is passionate abo...

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The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello has said the state government acquired a controversial ‘self-assessment COVID-19 software’ at a total cost of only N890, 000.

Kingsley Fanwo, the state’s Commissioner for Information stated this in a statement he issued in reaction to a report by Premium Times exposing a bloated expenditure by the state government on COVID-19 software.

Fanwo claimed the N890,000 the state spent covered the self-assessment app and the upgrade of the health ministry’s website, but he failed to explain how it spent the remaining N89.8 million.

A whopping sum of N90.7 million was captured in its financial records used for the "procurement of computer software for its health sector" and the financial records seen by the media organization and which contained the expenditure were certified by the Accountant-General of the state, Momoh Jibrin, and the Commissioner for Finance, Asiru Idris.

In the breakdown, the government initially budgeted N150 million for the computer software project but stated that it ended up spending N90.7 million, “thus saving N59.2 million”.

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The software, approved by COVID-sceptic Governor Yahaya Bello, was for tracking coronavirus cases in the state. However, the software is no longer functioning as the developers said they had a contract to host it for only one year.

The state government said the controversial software, which comes in a mobile application and website, was one of its measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Kogi.

The software uses the checklist of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for suspected and high-risk cases to evaluate users.

But checks by our reporter showed that the same software now costs only N300,000 from the same company that developed it for the state government.

An official of the state had admitted the government actually spent less than a million naira on the project and could not defend the N90.7 million announced as expenditure; an indication the declared price was excessively inflated.

Meanwhile, the generated reactions from transparency and accountability advocates who called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe Mr. Bello and the state’s COVID-19 related expenses.

In his statement of Monday, Fanwo alleged that PREMIUM TIMES’ report was misleading but he could not also account for the entire sum spent.

“The report on March 26, 2021, titled: ‘INVESTIGATION: Kogi govt spent N90 million on an N300,000 software’, which falsely claimed that the Government of Kogi State spent N90 million to procure software for Covid-19 self-assessment, is not only misleading but a malicious attempt at painting the state as a corrupt one.

“We initially wanted to ignore the lies in the report, knowing how much the state government has been attacked for not subscribing to the commercial aspects of Covid-19. But on second thought, we have decided to put Premium Times under the lens of truth, logic and commonsense.

“As a Government, we have no record that 90 million nairas were expended to procure the Covid-19 self-assessment software.

He said the state spent “90.7 million nairas for the procurement of computer software for the health sector in the State which may include but not limited to the self-assessment app.

“What was actually spent on the software referred to in the publication as well as the upgrading of the Ministry of Health website was N890, 000.00 (eight hundred and thousand naira only).

“How N890,000.00 became 90 million naira can only be a ludicrous pen magic by draconian pen arbiters hired to do a hatchet job.”

Rather than provide a breakdown of how the government spent the balance on “procurement of computer software for the health sector”,  Fanwo “demanded an unreserved apology from Premium Times within the next seven days”.

“Our fiscal responsibility is mercurial and a radiant example for the nation; illuminating enough to clear the flames of reckless and irresponsible allegations that have no root in facts,” he stated.


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Adedayo Babatunde
Adedayo Babatunde

Adedayo Babatunde is a seasoned journalist and an enthusiastic organic writer, who is passionate abo...

More From this Author

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