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SERAP approaches court, wants governors spending on COVID-19 publish 

By Idowu Abdullahi,

As part of measures to ensure accountability, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has approached the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, to mandate Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his counterparts in other 35 states to publish details of spending on coronavirus respectively.

It explained that the call had become imperative to ensure accountability of funds received from the Federal Government and other private donors and come clean with details of their emergency response spending.

The organisation also asked the court to order 36 state governors to use public funds budgeted for security votes, and life pensions for former governors to fund healthcare facilities and to address the impact of COVID-19 on millions of Nigerians.

SERAP in a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/757/2020, filed last Friday, by SERAP’s counsels, Kolawole Oluwadare and Atinuke Adejuyigbe, said the request was in line with the FoI Act, Nigerian Constitution, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 

In a statement released to newsmen on Sunday, the organisation, sought among others: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and compel the 36 state governors to disclose how much they have individually collected from the Federal Government as COVID-19 support, from private donations and other sources, as well as details of spending of any such funds and donations.

SERAP added that the 36 governors ought to be compelled to invest in healthcare facilities and to tell Nigerians how they are spending COVID-19 funds and donations in their states.

“The 36 governors have a responsibility to act in the interest of Nigerian citizens and residents in their states under the Code of Conduct for Public Officers [Fifth Schedule Part 1] of the Nigerian Constitution, and Oath of Office of Governor of a State in Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.

“This suit is of public concern as it bothers on issues of national interest, public welfare and interest, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability. The right to truth allows Nigerians to gain access to information on what their state governments have done or are doing to cushion the socio-economic effects of COVID-19 on Nigerians.”

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