The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to publish a comprehensive list of names of people from whom N800 billion in looted funds have been recovered.
In a statement issued on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group called on the President to direct the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed to ensure the recovered loot is published.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, SERAP noted that “publishing the details regarding the N800 billion recovered loot and investigating the alleged suspicious payments into personal accounts would be entirely consistent with fundamental principles of due process, and Nigeria’s international anti-corruption commitments.”
The association also wants the Federal Government to “direct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly, thoroughly and transparently investigate allegations that payments totalling N51 billion were made into individual accounts in 2019.”
According to Oluwadare, “the information will also reveal the truth of where the money is going and why it is there, and allow Nigerians an opportunity to assess the impacts of any projects carried out with the recovered loot and the alleged payments into individual accounts.”
The letter, copied to Mr Malami and Mrs Ahmed, read in part: “The public has a right to know how recovered N800 billion loot has been spent, and the details and purpose of the alleged payments into individual accounts.”
“As a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Nigeria has committed to ensuring transparent management of public resources, and unhindered access to public information. These commitments ought to be fully upheld and respected.
“Transparency over transactions by the government is critical to ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the management of public resources. The authorities are required to set the highest standards of transparency, accountability, and probity in the management of these resources and the programmes that they oversee.
“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.
“Publishing the details of projects on which the N800 billion recovered loot has been spent and a comprehensive list of names of people from whom they have been recovered, as well as investigating allegations of payment of billions of naira into individual accounts, and the projects for which the payments were made, would also serve the best interests of the general public.”