The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to probe what it describes as 316 duplicated projects in the 2021 budget. SERAP made the request known via a statement issued on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, adding that President Buhari should direct the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to carry out the investigation.
The group wants the Minister to also “investigate ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), and members of the National Assembly suspected to be responsible for inserting N39.5bn for apparently 316 duplicated and mysterious projects in the 2021 budget.” “Any such investigation should establish whether public funds have been mismanaged, diverted or stolen in the guise of implementing the duplicated and mysterious projects,” the statement partly read.
“Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any stolen public funds should be fully recovered.” According to SERAP, the misallocation of public funds for duplicated and mysterious projects has seriously undermined the ability of the indicted MDAs, noting that the government should ensure respect for Nigerians’ human rights through developing and implementing well-thought-out policies, plans, and budgets.”
It also expressed concern that the N39.5bn duplicated and mysterious projects may have been used as a ploy to divert and steal vital resources from MDAs. The statement added, “Budget allocations and expenditure ought to be well-suited to ensure access of Nigerians to basic public services, and responsive to the people’s needs in order to prevent corruption or unnecessary or wasteful spending.”