SERAP sues Buhari, Malami over ‘missing N11tr electricity fund’
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), at the Federal High Court in Lagos over failure to probe allegations that over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply since 1999 may have been stolen, mismanaged or diverted into private pockets.
It stated that Nigerian cities have repeatedly been plunged into darkness, as the electricity grid had reportedly collapsed at least three times in five months, and 130 times in seven years.
“According to the World Bank, epileptic power supply costs businesses in Nigeria about $29 billion yearly,” SERAP said. In the suit, numbered FHC/L/CS/1119/2022 and filed on its behalf at the weekend by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Adelanke Aremo, SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to direct and compel Buhari to investigate how the fund was allegedly squandered by successive administrations.
The group also wants an order of mandamus to compel the President to ensure prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible for the missing electricity fund, as appropriate, and to ensure the tracing and full recovery of any missing public funds.
The organisation is arguing that, “it is in the public interest to ensure justice and accountability for alleged corruption and mismanagement in the electricity sector, which has resulted in the failure of governments to solve Nigeria’s perennial power problem.”
According to SERAP, the staggering amount of public funds alleged to have been stolen over the years in the sector had had catastrophic effects on the lives of millions of Nigerians, akin to crime against the people and humanity.
The group submitted: “The failure to trace, find and recover the missing electricity fund is antithetical to public interest, requirements of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the country’s international obligations.
“Nigerians have for far too long been denied justice and the opportunity to get to the bottom of why they continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector – staying in darkness – but still made to pay crazy electricity bills.
“Investigating the allegations of missing N11 trillion electricity fund, prosecuting suspected perpetrators and recovering any missing public fund would end a culture of impunity.”
It would also address persistent collapse of the electricity grid and improve access to and affordability of electricity in the country.”
It argued: “Corruption in the electricity sector and the lack of transparency and accountability in the use of public funds to support operations of distribution companies (DisCos) have resulted in regular blackouts, electricity grid collapses and unlawful hike in electricity tariffs.”
SERAP is equally requesting for an order of mandamus to direct and compel Buhari to refer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) all unimplemented graft reports in the electricity sector and to arrest and surrender those named in the reports to the court for prosecution. No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.