Order Buhari, Osinbajo, govs to publish their assets, SERAP tells court
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a suit asking the Federal High Court, Abuja to order President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, governors and their deputies to publish details of their assets.
Specifically, it requested an order revealing property and income contained in their assets declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since assuming office.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/65/2020 filed at the weekend, SERAP is seeking, “An order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct President Buhari, Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to make public their summary of assets.
It also requested a disclosure “whether they have reviewed and update their assets declaration submitted to the CCB and if the declaration was made as constitutionally and statutorily required.”
SERAP is also seeking, “An order to compel Buhari, Osinbajo, governors and their deputies to disclose whether they have received any confirmation of verification of their assets declaration by the CCB and whether they have taken steps to encourage their cabinet members to also submit their assets declaration to the CCB and make them public.”
The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request dated January 3, 2020, in which it expressed concern that, “The non-public disclosure by public officials of their assets undermines the effectiveness and integrity of the constitutional and statutory obligations to submit asset declarations, especially given that declarations are meant to check corruption and weakens public trust in the asset declaration regimes.”
SERAP disclosed that only Lagos and Niger states have responded to its FoI requests.
“But both states declined the requests to make assets of their governors and deputies public on the ground that “the FoI Act is not applicable to state governments, their agencies and officials and that only houses of assembly of states are constitutionally empowered to make laws on public records of states.”
Reacting to SERAP FoI request to President Buhari, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had said, “On what basis is SERAP asking the President to declare his assets publicly? The president will do what the law requires and what the law requires is that he should declare his assets, which he has done.”
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