SERAP sues Governors, Wike over ‘missing N40trn LG allocations’

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against Nigeria’s governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nyesom Wike “over their failure to account for the alleged missing N40 trillion federal allocations meant for local governments in the states and the FCT.”

According to a statement on Sunday by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the suit followed the damning revelations by former president Muhammadu Buhari who 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.” It stated that the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/231/2024 was filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja. The rights group is asking the court to “direct and compel the governors to publish details of LGA allocations and actual disbursement of the allocations to local governments in their respective states from 1999 to date.”

SERAP wants the court to “compel and direct Mr Wike to publish details of federal allocations meant for the Area Councils in the FCT and the actual disbursement of the allocations to the Area Councils in the FCT from 1999 to date.” “The Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Freedom of Information Act, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights impose transparency obligations on the governors and Mr Wike to publish the details of LGA allocations and actual disbursement in their states and the FCT.

SERAP is arguing that “State governors and Mr Wike cannot hide under the excuse that the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to their states and the FCT. The legal obligations to publish the information sought are also imposed by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“It is in the public interest and the interest of justice to grant this application. Nigerians are entitled to their constitutionally and internationally recognized human right to information,” the statement read.

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