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SERAP Ask Sanwo-Olu, Wike, Obaseki, Others To Account For Over N40 Trillion LGA Allocations

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the 36 state governors in the country and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nyesom Wike to disclose details of federal allocations meant for local governments in their state and the FCT and the actual disbursement of the allocations to the local governments since the return of democracy in 1999.……CONTINUE READING>>>

 SERAP also urged the governors and the FCT Minister to promptly invite the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments in your state and the FCT since May 1999.

Recall that former President Muhammadu Buhari had in December 2022 stated that, “If the money from the Federation Account to the State is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman but he will sign that he received N100 million. The chairman will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with.’”

In the freedom of information requests dated 27 January 2024 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation stated that Nigerians have the right to know the details of actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations in your state and the FCT.

SERAP said states and the FCT should be guided by transparency and accountability principles and proactively publish information pertaining to their actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments. According to SERAP, opacity in the amounts of federal allocations actually disbursed to local governments in the states have continued to have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens and the public interest.

The FoI requests, read, in part: “We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel you and your state and the FCT to comply with our requests in the public interest. “Transparency in the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments is fundamental to increase accountability, prevent corruption, and build trust in democratic institutions, and strengthen the rule of law.

“Implicit in the freedom of expression is the public’s right to know what governments are doing on their behalf, without which truth would languish and people’s participation in government would remain fragmented.

“Transparency would ensure that the allocations are not diverted into private pockets, and increase public trust that the money would be used to benefit Nigerians resident in these local government areas.

“SERAP is seriously concerned that years of allegations of corruption and mismanagement of federal allocations meant for local governments have contributed to widespread poverty, underdevelopment and lack of access to public goods and services in several states.

“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations in your state would also improve the enjoyment by Nigerians of their right to natural wealth and resources.

“You have a legal responsibility to promote transparency and accountability in the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local government areas in your state, and to ensure that the allocations are dully and fully disbursed to the local governments.

“Combating the corruption epidemic in the spending of federal allocations meant for local government areas in your state would alleviate poverty, improve access of Nigerians to basic public goods, and enhance the ability of the local governments to effectively and efficiently discharge their constitutional and statutory responsibilities.

“According to our information, the 36 states in Nigeria and the federal capital territory, Abuja, have collected over N40 trillion federal allocations meant for the 774 local governments areas in the country and FCT.

“The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursed to states N225.21 billion federal allocations meant for local governments in November 2023 alone. States also collected N258,810,449,711.47 federal allocations meant for local government areas in December 2023.

“However, there is opacity in the actual disbursement of federal allocations to the local government areas in your state. States and the FCT have over the years failed and/or refused to disclose the portion of federal allocations that are disbursed by state governors.

“SERAP notes that former president Muhammadu Buhari recently alleged that state governors routinely pocket or divert federal allocations meant for local governments areas in their states.

“According to Buhari, ‘If the money from the Federation Account to the State is about N100 million, N50 million will be sent to the chairman but he will sign that he received N100 million. The chairman will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with.’

“SERAP also urges you to provide details of the transparency and accountability mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the trillions of naira of federal allocations that have been received by your state and the FCT are not embezzled, misappropriated or diverted into private pockets.

“Section 162(6) of Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) provides that each state shall maintain a ‘State Joint Local Government Account’ into which all allocations to local government councils from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State shall be paid.

“Section 162(5) makes it mandatory that amounts standing to the credit of the councils will be allocated to the States for the benefit of their local government councils.” “Section 13 of the Nigerian Constitution imposes clear responsibility on your state to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of Chapter 2 of the constitution.

“SERAP notes that Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution requires public institutions to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power. Section 16(2) further provides that, ‘the material resources of the nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good.’

“Nigeria has made legally binding commitments under the UN Convention against Corruption to ensure accountability in the management of public resources. Articles 5 and 9 of the UN Convention against Corruption also impose legal obligations on your state to ensure proper management of public affairs and public funds.

“The public interest in publishing the information sought outweighs any considerations to withhold the information. Nigerians are entitled to the right to receive information without any interference or distortion, and the enjoyment of this right should be based on the principle of maximum disclosure.”.…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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