SERAP sues govs over N72b fuel subsidy palliative
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), at the weekend, sued the 36 state governors at the Federal High Court, Lagos over failure to account for the N72 billion palliative collected from the Federal Government, including details of the beneficiaries and reliefs provided with the money.
The President Bola Tinubu administration recently disbursed N2 billion out of the N5 billion palliative package to each state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to address the harsh impact of fuel subsidy removal.
In the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1943/2023 and filed by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Mrs. Blessing Ogwuche, SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to direct and compel each of the 36 state governors to account for spending of the N2 billion palliative.
It is asking for details of the beneficiaries and the reliefs provided to the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians with the money.The organisation is also praying for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to be directed to monitor the spending.
It argued that government’s secrecy is fundamentally anti-democratic, adding that it would create distrust or suspicion. The failure by the governors to account for the public funds is both legally and morally wrong,” the group maintained.
The body is also arguing that the 36 state governors are constitutionally required to act in the public interest.
“Secrecy in government is a form of coercion. Government secrecy promotes arbitrariness and covers illegal acts,” SERAP insisted. According to the organisation, the right of access to official information such as the spending of the N72 billion by the governors exists to facilitate free expression of right, discover the truth, and encourage citizens’ participation in a democracy. No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.
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