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SERAP Sue’s Governors, Wike Over Missing N40 Trillion

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against Nigeria’s governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nyesom Wike “over their inability  to account for the alleged missing N40 trillion federal allocations meant for local governments in the states and the FCT.”

This was disclosed in a statement released on Sunday and signed l by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare. The suit followed the damning revelations by former president Muhammadu Buhari who in December 2022 stated that “If the money from the Federation Account to the State is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman but he will sign that he received N100 million. The chairman will pocket the balance and share it.”

It stated that the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/231/2024 was filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja. The rights group is asking the court to “direct and compel the governors to publish details of LGA allocations and actual disbursement of the allocations to local governments in their respective states from 1999 to date.”

SERAP asked the court to “compel and direct Mr Wike to publish details of federal allocations meant for the Area Councils in the FCT and the actual disbursement of the allocations to the Area Councils in the FCT from 1999 to date.”

“The Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Freedom of Information Act, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights impose transparency obligations on the governors and Mr Wike to publish the details of LGA allocations and actual disbursement in their states and the FCT.

 “State governors and Mr Wike cannot hide under the excuse that the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to their states and the FCT. The legal obligations to publish the information sought are also imposed by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“It is in the public interest and the interest of justice to grant this application. Nigerians are entitled to their constitutionally and internationally recognized human right to information,” the statement read.

 “Transparency in the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments is fundamental to increase accountability, prevent corruption, build trust in democratic institutions, and strengthen the rule of law.

“States and the FCT should be guided by transparency and accountability principles and proactively publish information about their actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments.”

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Rita Elenwo

Rita Aletor- Elenwo, is a professional journalist with experience in broadcast, print and online reporting. A proud citizen of Edo state, Nigeria (Esan South East Local Government) Rita had her first degree in philosophy from Ebonyi State University (2008), PGD, in Communication from the University of Port Harcourt (2020), and currently in pursuit of an MSC degree in communication. Rita (nee Aletor-) is happily married with lovely children.

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