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A group of northerners under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Groups has asked President Muhammadu Buhari, not to succumb to pressure to release funds to northern governors to fight COVID-19 pandemic.

The group expressed the view that the governors would abuse such funds if released to them.

This was contained in a statement by the group’s spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in Kaduna on Wednesday.

He said, “We frown on the focus of the northern governors on demanding funds from the federation account under the pretext of fighting the spread of the pandemic.”

The governors had, after a teleconference to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting the region on Monday, lamented the absence of a testing centre and resolved to liaise with the Federal Government.

However, the CNG accused the governors of paying lip service to the fight against coronavirus.

The statement read in part, “CNG frowns on the incoherent response to the COVID-19 by most northern state governments that only pay lip services to the issue of provision of equipped isolation and treatment centres and palliatives to communities affected by their lockdown orders.

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“We frown on the focus of the northern governors on demanding funds from the federation account in the pretext of fighting the spread of the pandemic.

“In this regard, CNG recalls the scandalous controversies that trailed the squander of bailout grants for the settlement of salary arrears by most state governments.

“We urge the Federal Government not to succumb to the states’ demand for funds for fear that they would not be put to judicious use as with the salary bailouts.

“And if the Federal Government is disposed to granting the funds to the states, CNG insists on the setting up of a mechanism in the form of committee comprising of credible elders and community leaders in each state to monitor the process of the disbursements and ensuring the judicious use of the funds for the purpose they are meant.”

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