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Group sues Nigerian state governors for failure to give account on N72bn subsidy palliative

Group sues Nigerian state governors for failure to give account on N72bn subsidy palliative

THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has accused Nigeria’s 36 state governors of failing to account for the spending of N72 billion palliative they collected from the federal government.

In a statement on Sunday, the group’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said it has filed a lawsuit against the governors, saying they also failed to include the details of the beneficiaries and the reliefs provided with the money.

There are allegations that most of the governors refused to distribute the funds and food items to the needy in their various states, opting to share them to their political cronies only.

Recently, the federal government disbursed N2 billion out of the N5 billion palliative package to each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to address the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy.

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1943/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel each of the 36 state governors to account for the spending of the N2 billion palliative collected by the governors from the Federal Government.”

The group wants the court to issue “an order of mandamus to direct and compel each of the 36 state governors to disclose details of the beneficiaries and the reliefs provided to the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians with the money.”

It also seeks “an order of mandamus to direct and compel each of the 36 state governors to instruct the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor the spending of fuel subsidy palliative collected by them.”

“Government secrecy is fundamentally anti-democratic. Secrecy in the spending of the N72 billion collected by the 36 state governors would create distrust or suspicion of the government. The failure by the governors to account for the public funds is both legally and morally wrong.

“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,” the statement read.

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

 

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