SPONSORED AD

SPONSORED AD

Trending Now

Security Votes: President Buhari, National Assembly Dragged To Court Over Lack Of Accountability Since 1999


BY FRANCIS IWUCHUKWU 

IKEJA,  LAGOS STATE,  NIGERIA - A lawsuit has been filed before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, “seeking leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate president Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to disclose details of allocations, disbursement and spending of security votes by the Federal Government, 36 state governors and 774 local governments between 1999 and 2019.”

The action which is designated FHC/ABJ/CS/1369/2019 was filed last week Friday by a Lagos-based human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), consequent upon a Freedom of Information requests and “the respondents’ failure to account for some N241.2 billion of public funds allocated, disbursed and spent yearly as security votes, and the corresponding lack of effective protection of the rights to security and welfare, life and physical integrity of millions of Nigerians.”

Joined as other respondents in the legal confrontation are: Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ahmed Idris, Accountant General of the Federation and Anthony Ayine, Auditor General for the Federation.

According to SERAP: “Nigerians have the constitutional and international human right to know details of the exact amounts that have been spent as security votes and specific areas and projects covered by the allocations, disbursement and spending. 

"There is overriding public interest in Nigerians having access to these details, and the respondents have legal obligations to facilitate public access to such information.

“Constitutional provisions requiring governments to ensure the security and welfare of the people are intended to protect the security and safety of citizens and not the security of a few individuals in government. 

"Without transparency and accountability, the mismanagement and corruption in the allocation, disbursement and spending of security votes will continue with devastating consequences.”

The action initiated by counsel to SERAP, Kolawole Olueadare read in part: “The respondents have a legal duty to proactively record, keep and disclose information in respect of allocation, disbursement and spending of security votes without waiting for SERAP to request for such information. 

"They are also required to maintain and publish documents containing information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public funds.

“Public officials receiving and spending security votes ought to come clean with Nigerians on how exactly these public funds are spent. 

"Unless the reliefs sought are granted, Nigerians would continue to see the appropriation of public funds as security votes as a tool for self-enrichment.

“The suit is seeking to offer governments at all levels an important opportunity to be transparent and accountable with the exercise of their discretionary powers in the allocation, disbursement and spending of security votes. 

"The public interest in the disclosure of these details outweighs any private interest the respondents may be seeking to protect.

“The right to know allows Nigerians to gain access to information essential to the fight against corruption, which is entirely consistent with the government’s own anti-corruption strategy to encourage citizens’ involvement in the fight against corruption. Access to information on details of security votes will ultimately foster security, sustainable peace, and development of democratic institutions across the country.

“Public officers are mere custodians of public records. The citizens are entitled to know how their commonwealth is being utilized, managed and administered in a democratic setting, as this positively influences the feeling of belonging in the society.

“The huge financial resources budgeted for security votes by successive governments have not matched the security realities in the country, especially given the level of insecurity, violence, kidnappings and killings in many parts of the country, which seem to suggest massive political use, mismanagement or stealing of security votes by many governments.

“As revealed by a 2018 report by Transparency International (TI), most of the funds appropriated as security votes are spent on political activities, mismanaged or simply stolen. 

"It is estimated that security votes add up to over N241.2 billion every year. On top of appropriated security votes, governments also receive millions of dollars yearly as international security assistance.”

SERAP is therefore seeking the following reliefs:

A DECLARATION that the failure of the Respondents to provide the Applicant with specific information on details of the expenditure, non-planned extra-budgetary spending on “Security” (otherwise referred to as ‘Security Votes’) allocated and disbursed to the Federal Government of Nigeria, 36 States of the Federation and 774 local governments in Nigeria for the periods covering between 1999 and 2019 is illegal and constitutes a breach of the Applicant’s rights under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS directing and/or compelling the Respondents to urgently compile and provide the Applicant with specific information on details of the expenditure, non-planned extra-budgetary spending on “Security” (otherwise referred to as ‘Security Votes’) by the Federal Government of Nigeria, 36 States of the Federation and 774 local governments in Nigeria for the periods covering between 1999 and 2019.

AND for such further order(s) this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

For events coverage, breaking news and advert placement, contact us today @thenewsaccelerator@gmail.com or call our hotlines on +2348033599492, +2348022717838.

Copyright THE NEWS ACCELERATOR.

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on THE NEWS ACCELERATOR NETWORK  should not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from the Editor-In-Chief.















No comments