SERAP asks govs to account for N72b fuel palliatives
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the 36 state governors to publish their spending of the N2 billion palliative recently disbursed to each of them by the Federal Government to cushion impact of the petrol subsidy removal.
In an open letter dated Sept 9, 2023 and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group said it is in the public interest to publish the details.
SERAP said: “Nigerians have the right to know how their states are spending the fuel subsidy relief funds. It is part of their legally enforceable human rights.”
According to the body, transparency and accountability in the spending of the money and any subsequent disbursement would check corruption, mismanagement, diversion or opportunism.
The group continued: “The oversight afforded by public access to details of the spending of the N2 billion palliative and any subsequent disbursement would serve as an important check on the activities of your state and help to prevent abuses of public trust.
“The constitutional principle of democracy also provides a foundation for Nigerians’ right to know details on spending of the N2 billion fuel subsidy palliative. Citizens’ right to know promotes openness, transparency and accountability that is, in turn, crucial for the country’s democratic order.”
“The effective operation of representative democracy depends on the people being able to scrutinise, discuss and contribute to government’s decision-making, including the fuel subsidy relief funds.”
SERAP noted that the removal of subsidy on petrol continues to negatively and disproportionately affect the poor and socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians in several states, thus undermining their right to adequate standard of living.
Citing the Freedom of Information Act, Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the group stressed that the extant laws guarantee everyone the right to information, including on how the N2 billion fuel subsidy relief funds were spent.
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