The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari “over his failure to probe allegations that over ₦880bn of public funds are missing from 367 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).”
The suit followed the grim allegations contained in Part 2 of the 2018 Annual Audited Report by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation that ₦880,894,733,084.811 was spent by 367 MDAs without any appropriation.
SERAP is, therefore, calling for the prosecution of those suspected to be responsible, and the recovery of any missing or diverted public funds.
According to the suit filed last week at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to promptly investigate the alleged missing N881bn of public funds, and to ensure the prosecution of those suspected to be responsible, and the full recovery of any missing, mismanaged or diverted public funds.”
In the suit, SERAP argued that: “complying with constitutional requirements and international standards on spending of public funds would ensure effective and efficient management of public resources, and put the country’s wealth and resources to work for the common good of all Nigerians, adding that “it is in the interest of justice to grant this application, as it would improve respect for the rights of Nigerians, and improve their access to essential public goods and services, which ought to be provided by the indicted MDAs.”
SERAP also argued that: “President Buhari has a constitutional duty to ensure the investigation and prosecution of allegations of corruption, as well as recovery of any missing public funds. Section 15 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended), requires the Buhari administration to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.
“Granting the reliefs sought would help to address the adverse consequences of unconstitutional and poor management of public resources on the human rights of poor Nigerians.
“The alleged missing public funds have hampered the ability of the indicted MDAs to meet the needs of average citizens, as the missing funds could have helped the government to invest in key public goods and services, and to improve access of Nigerians to these goods and services.”
Joined in the suit as respondents are the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN; and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.