SAHARANEWS Human rights group Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is seeking an answer and has sued President Buhari, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, asking the Federal High court to order them to disclose details of allocations.
The group wants information on disbursement and spending of security votes by the Federal Government, 36 state governors and 774 local governments between 1999 and 2019.
The suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1369/2019, filed last Friday followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information requests and “the respondents’ failure to account for some N241.2 billion of public funds allocated, disbursed and spent yearly as security votes, and the corresponding lack of effective protection of the rights to security and welfare, life and physical integrity of millions of Nigerians.
Others joined as parties in the suit are: Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Ahmed Idris, Accountant General of the Federation and Mr Anthony Ayine, Auditor General for the Federation.
According to SERAP: “Nigerians have the constitutional and international human right to know details of the exact amounts that have been spent as security votes and specific areas and projects covered by the allocations, disbursement and spending.
There is overriding public interest in Nigerians having access to these details, and the respondents have legal obligations to facilitate public access to such information.”
“Constitutional provisions requiring governments to ensure the security and welfare of the people are intended to protect the security and safety of citizens and not the security of a few individuals in government.
Without transparency and accountability, the mismanagement and corruption in the allocation, disbursement and spending of security votes will continue with devastating consequences.”
The suit filed by SERAP’s lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi read in part: “The respondents have a legal duty to proactively record, keep and disclose information in respect of allocation, disbursement and spending of security votes without waiting for SERAP to request for such information.
They are also required to maintain and publish documents containing information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public funds.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.