SERAP urges probe into use of LG allocations
Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct urgent investigation of alleged corruption in the management of federal allocations to the 774 councils.
In an open letter to the president, the group urged him to direct the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and/or appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate the allegations.
SERAP also sought investigation into the alleged complicity of state governors in corruption cases involving council allocations in the past 20 years, and prosecute perpetrators.
The open letter followed the reported arrest, last week, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of 16 council chairmen in Kwara State, who were suspended by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
They suspended council bosses allegedly misappropriated N4 billion loan meant for paying teachers and pensioners.
In the letter dated November 1, 2019 and signed by the deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation stated: “Investigating state governors and council chairmen over allegations of corruption and abuse of power in the use of federal allocations meant to provide public goods and services would best serve public interest and welfare.
“We request that you take the recommended action within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel your government to act in the public interest.
“Our request is based on the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), the country’s anti-corruption legislation and international obligations, particularly the UN Convention against Corruption. Section 7(6)(a) of the constitution anticipates allocation of public revenue to the 774 councils in the country. The proposed investigations and prosecution do not offend the constitutional principles of federation in any way, shape or form,” the letter read in part.
According to reports, about N20 billion accrued to councils across the country between 2007 and 2012 alone.
“Over N15 trillion of federal allocation meant for provision of public goods and services by councils have been allegedly mismanaged or pocketed by state governments, council chairmen, and the authorities of the Federal Capital Territory in the last 12 years,” it added.