Recommit to transparency, declare your assets, SERAP urges Buhari
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has implored President Muhammadu Buhari to recommit to transparency and demonstrate leadership by publicly declaring his assets at the end of his tenure in office and encouraging other members of his administration to do same.
The group also pleaded with the President to direct the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to take immediate steps to expeditiously, diligently, effectively and fairly prosecute all outstanding high-profile corruption cases currently being handled by his office.
Buhari had stated in his Independence Day address that he would bequeath a country where all citizens have equal opportunities to achieve.
“We have made significant progress in the eradication of deeply entrenched corruption that permeates all facets of our national development,” he had said.
But SERAP, in an open letter dated October 1, 2022 and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, countered the President’s speech, saying, “grand corruption has continued to deny millions of Nigerians equal opportunities.”
The organisation went on: “Promoting transparency and combating corruption and ensuring full and effective respect for the rule of law would send a strong signal of your commitment to leave behind a legacy of transparency and accountability.”
According to the body, millions of people are falling into preventable poverty and live in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity.
“We hope that the next few months will show your administration’s commitment to consistently uphold transparency and accountability to create a rule of law-friendly environment that would make Nigerians safer.
“There remain longstanding and grave concerns regarding widespread cases of grand corruption involving high-ranking government officials and systemic corruption in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and persistent attacks on the rule of law.”
They pointed out that the “indicators of bad governance and mismanagement of the country’s natural wealth and resources should serve as proof of the need for your government to reinforce and recommit to the fight against corruption.
Public officials still use political power to enrich themselves without considering the public good. In several states of the federation and federal ministries, corruption is taking place every day and every hour.”
Corruption, the organisation said, continues to directly affect the lives and well being of millions of Nigerians across the country, erode trust in public institutions and leaders, as well as threaten the foundation of the nation’s democracy.
The body further asked Buhari to obey all pending court judgments with a view to improving the ability of his government to fulfill its promises to Nigerians.
Consistent with the principles of transparency and accountability, SERAP also urged the President to encourage all presidential candidates to also publicly declare their assets ahead of the 2023 general elections.