SERAP Takes Legal Action Against Governors and Minister Wike Over Alleged Missing LGA Funds

SERAP Takes Legal Action Against Governors and Minister Wike Over Alleged Missing LGA Funds

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has initiated legal proceedings against Nigeria’s governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mr. Nyesom Wike, concerning their failure to account for an estimated N40 trillion federal allocations intended for local governments across states and the FCT.

This lawsuit follows the concerning disclosures made by former President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2022, alleging mismanagement and diversion of funds. Buhari’s statement highlighted a systemic issue where allocated funds did not reach their intended recipients, painting a picture of widespread financial malpractice.

In the suit filed last Friday with the Federal High Court, Abuja, under the number FHC/ABJ/CS/231/2024, SERAP is demanding transparency and accountability from state governors and Mr. Wike regarding the allocation and disbursement of funds to local governments since 1999.

Specifically, SERAP is seeking a court order compelling the governors to publish detailed records of LGA allocations and their actual disbursement, as well as requiring Mr. Wike to disclose similar information concerning federal allocations meant for the Area Councils in the FCT.

The organization argues that transparency in the handling of federal allocations to LGAs is essential for fostering accountability, preventing corruption, and bolstering public trust in democratic institutions. By failing to provide this information, the governors and Mr. Wike are contravening constitutional and international obligations regarding transparency and citizens’ right to access information.

SERAP’s legal team, consisting of Kolawole Oluwadare, Kehinde Oyewumi, and Andrew Nwankwo, emphasized that transparency in fund disbursement is crucial for ensuring that allocated resources are utilized for the benefit of Nigerians and not diverted for private gain. They underscored the detrimental impact of corruption and mismanagement on poverty levels, development, and public service delivery across states.

The organization highlighted the substantial sums involved, with over N40 trillion federal allocations earmarked for local governments nationwide. Despite these significant funds, there is a lack of clarity and transparency in their allocation and utilization, perpetuating a cycle of financial opacity and malpractice.

SERAP contends that this legal action is necessary to hold state governors and Mr. Wike accountable and to compel them to fulfill their constitutional duty to promote transparency and accountability in financial matters. Ultimately, increased transparency and accountability will lead to improved public service delivery, poverty alleviation, and enhanced democratic governance in Nigeria.

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