Start by publishing your assets, investments, SERAP tells Tinubu
As Bola Tinubu assumes Nigeria’s presidency today, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has advised him to promptly make public his assets, income, investments, liabilities and interests. He is also charged to impress it on his vice, Kashim Shettima, to toesame line.
The group, in a letter dated May 27, 2023 and signed by deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, also urged the Lagos State ex-governor to prioritise respect for human rights, media freedom, rule of law and the judiciary.
It recalled Tinubu’s recent promise to “kill corruption,” reminding him that the outgoing administration in 2015 made similar promise that was not kept.
SERAP said: “As Nigerians have witnessed for eight years, (outgoing) President Muhammadu Buhari has neither ‘killed corruption’ nor obeyed court judgments on transparency and accountability.
“Publishing details of your assets, income, investments and liabilities and encouraging your deputy and others to do same would allow Nigerians to know your worth and that of other public officials.
“If your election is upheld by the judiciary, your government can use transparency in asset declarations as a means of promoting public accountability and ending systemic corruption in the country.”
According to the group, Buhari’s “broken promises to make specific details of his assets public and to kill corruption have opened up the country’s political and electoral processes to a money free-for-all, discouraged political participation and contributed to impunity.”
It continued: “Although (outgoing) President Buhari’s march to Aso Rock was predicated, in large part, on his campaign rhetoric to ‘kill corruption’, corruption remains widespread among high-ranking public officials and in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“Making public details of your assets, liabilities and interests would reduce unjust enrichment of public officials, ensure integrity in public offices and promote transparency and accountability, as well as good governance.”
The body noted that enforcement of court judgments is critical to national interest and restoration of rule of law in the country.
SERAP added: “The incoming government, therefore, has a responsibility to improve citizens’ trust and confidence in government. But it will be difficult for the new government to be trusted if its leaders do not come clean about their assets and income.
“Disclosure of income, assets and conflicts of interest can serve as powerful tools to draw attention to abuse of public office, help prosecute corrupt offenders and create a culture of scrutiny in the public sector.”