Publish agreements for loans obtained by past administrations, SERAP tells Tinubu

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Bola Tinubu to publish copies of loan agreements obtained by the administration of past Presidents since 1999. SERAP asked Tinubu “to direct appropriate ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to provide our organization with copies of the loan agreements obtained by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.”

This was contained in a statement issued by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, and made available on Sunday. SERAP is also seeking “the spending details of any such loans as well as the interests and other payments so far made on the loans.”

SERAP also urges him “to establish an independent audit on the spending of the loans obtained by the governments of the former presidents, and to make public the findings of any such audit.”

In the Freedom of Information request dated 13 April 2024 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Publishing copies of the agreements would prevent and combat waste, corruption, mismanagement, and abuse in the spending of public funds.” SERAP said, “No one should be able to pull curtains of secrecy around decisions on the spending of public funds which can be revealed without injury to the public interest. Democracy requires accountability and accountability requires transparency.”

According to SERAP, “Nigerians are entitled to information about what their government is doing in their name. This is part of their right to information.” The FoI request, read in part: “Nigerians’ right to a democratic governance allows them to appreciably influence the direction of government, and have an opportunity to assess progress and assign blame.” “The accountability of government to the general public is a hallmark of democratic governance, which Nigeria seeks to achieve.”

“Your government should make it possible for citizens to have access to the agreements and spending details to judge whether their government is working for them or not.” “Publishing the agreements would demonstrate your oft-expressed commitment to openness in government and to promote accountability. It would also improve public accountability in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

“Publishing the agreements and spending details would allow the public to see how and on what these governments spent the loans and foster transparency and accountability.”

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