Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said the state government rejected N1.1 billion support fund from the World Bank because of his belief that COVID-19 is a “glorified malaria”.
The governor also described the World Bank’s Memorandum of Understanding for the fund as “a one-sided agreement”.
However, he admitted that the state government received N1 billion from the Federal Government to tackle the effects of COVID-19 in his state.
He said the while fielding questions on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday which was monitored by The PUNCH.
It would be recalled that the World Bank approved $114.28 million to help Nigeria boost its capacity for COVID-19 response.
The fund is expected to be distributed across the 36 states and the FCT, as grants to support efforts aimed at containing the spread of the virus in the country.
According to Bello, COVID-19 pandemic has a political undertone.
He said, “I rejected the World Bank fund because I do not believe in COVID-19. Even the five cases reported in Kogi State is an NCDC creation.
“Go and check records. Kogi State is the only state that refused to sign that document for N1.1bilion because I don’t believe in COVID. N500million has been disbursed, Kogi State did not receive and I refused to receive and I rejected it.
“I refused to sign because it is a one-sided agreement.”
On why he received the COVID-19 fund from the Federal Government and rejected that of World Bank, Bello said, “Even though we did not have COVID-19 in Kogi State, we are equally affected; because our economy was equally affected and Federal Government released that fund to assist every state and we cannot reject it.”
Earlier, Bello expressed concern over the receipt of COVID-19 materials by state governments from COCAVID and other organisations.
He said it was “ridiculing” that “they bring three trucks and still want to do pre and post-audit.”
The governor said his government had been handing out palliatives to residents before COVID-19.
“I did say when COVID-19 came into this country that a few people are going to profiteer and that is what has happened. And I am saying it again that a few individuals are setting certain agenda for 2023. Now, from #EndSARS to hoodlums stealing CACOVID to various youths or people saying IPOB and statements. Various groups are making statements,” he added.