The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit, asking the court “to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to disclose spending details of the overdrafts and loans obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since May 29, 2015 including the projects on which the overdrafts have been spent, and repayments of all overdrafts to date.”
SERAP is also seeking an order to compel the president to “explain and clarify whether the $25billion (N9.7trillion) overdraft reportedly obtained from the CBN is within the five-percent limit of the actual revenue of the government for 2020.”
The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request to President Buhari, stating that, “Disclosing details of overdrafts and repayments would enable Nigerians to hold the government to account for its fiscal management and ensure that public funds are not mismanaged or diverted.”
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/559/2021 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is also seeking, “an order directing and compelling President Buhari to disclose details of overdrafts taken from the CBN by successive governments between 1999 and 2015.”
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that, “Secrecy and the lack of public scrutiny of the details of CBN overdrafts and repayments is antithetical to the public interest, the common good, the country’s international legal obligations, and a fundamental breach of constitutional oath of office.”
Joined in the suit as respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele.
SERAP is also arguing that, “Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of CBN overdrafts and loans would promote prudence in debt management, reduce any risks of corruption and mismanagement, and help the government to avoid the pitfalls of excessive debt.”
According to SERAP, “By the combined reading of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Freedom of Information Act, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, there are transparency obligations imposed on the government to disclose information to the public concerning details of CBN overdrafts, loans and repayments to date.”
SERAP is also arguing that, “The Nigerian Constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and these treaties rest on the basic principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Adelanke Aremo, read in part, “Transparency and accountability in the spending of CBN overdrafts would also ensure that public funds are properly spent, reduce the level of public debt, and improve the ability of the government to invest in essential public goods and services, such as quality education, healthcare, and clean water.
“It is the primary responsibility of the government to ensure public access to these services in order to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
“Transparency and accountability in the spending of CBN overdrafts and loans would also improve the ability of the government to effectively respond to the Covid-19 crisis. This means that the government would not have to choose between saving lives or making debt payments.
“The recent overdraft of $25.6billion (about N9.7trillion) reportedly obtained from the CBN would appear to be above the five-percent limit of the actual revenue of the Federal Government for 2020, that is, N3.9trillion, prescribed by Section 38(2) of the CBN Act 2007. SERAP notes that five-percent of N3.9trillion is N197billion.
“While Section 38(1) of the CBN Act allows the Bank to grant overdrafts to the Federal Government to address any temporary deficiency of budget revenue, sub-section 2 provides that any outstanding overdraft ‘shall not exceed five-percent of the previous year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government.’
Nine Passengers Burnt In Oyo Auto Crash – FRSC
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has said nine passengers have sustained varying degree of burns in an auto crash on Ogbomoso-Oyo Expressway.
The Sector Commander in the state, Joshua Adekanye, confirmed the incident in an interview with The Tide’s source in Ibadan yesterday.
He said the accident, which occurred on Saturday, involved a trailer and a truck at Sekona area along Ogbomoso – Oyo Expressway.
Adekanye said nine out of the total 13 people involved in the accident got burnt while four others escaped unhurt.
“The accident happened around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, and the truck vehicle caught fire while the trailer collided with it.
“The actual cause of the fire in the truck could not be ascertain because it happened at night”, he said.
He, however, said the likely cause of the trailer colliding with the truck might be speeding and wrongful overtaking.
According to him, the burnt victims are being referred to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital for treatment, adding that the RS11.31 Ogbomoso and RS11.312 Oolo Commands conducted rescue operation.
“Other agency that carried out the rescue operation are the Fire Service and Odo-Oba Police Division”, he said.
Adekanye called on motorists to shun night travelling, wrongful overtaking and dangerous driving to ensure safety on the road.
Association Lauds Gov Over E-Ticket Revenue Collection
Enugu State Governor, Barr Peter Mbah, has been commended for introducing E-Ticket system of revenue collection, which is aimed at increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.
The President, Enugu State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ESMATA), Chief Stephen Aniagu, who made the commendation in a chat with newsmen in Enugu, expressed happiness that the system has already started yielding fruitful results.
Urging traders in all the markets in the State to cooperate with government by embracing the innovation, Chief Aniagu also expressed satisfaction with the announcement by the State Government that its IGR had increased tremendously from what it used to be before the introduction of the system.
According to him, traders in Ogbete Main Market have already identified themselves with the system, with a view to encouraging the State Government’s efforts at increasing its IGR.
On programmes and projects mapped out for execution by the Governor Mbah-led administration, Chief Aniagu said, “we have already started feeling the impacts of these projects.
“From all indications, Governor Mbah has plans to make Enugu State a role model. We are cooperating very well with the State Government. The relationship between the Governor and traders in the State is very cordial.
“Ogbete traders are fully involved as they have started paying their taxes as and when due. I urge all the traders to key in by ensuring that government revenue goes directly into government Coffers instead of private pockets”.
Continuing, Chief Aniagu further said: “The Governor has always carried along traders in Ogbete and other markets in the State in his programmes.
Fielding questions from newsmen on the level of peace in Ogbete, Chief Aniagu stated that there was relative peace in the market, adding that traders were fully supporting and cooperating with his administration.
He, however, advised traders in Ogbete and other markets in the State not to cheat their customers in any manner, noting that “the importance of carrying out you businesses with the fear of God cannot be over emphasized”.
By: Canice Amadi Enugu
EFCC Boss Vows To Fight Corruption
The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ola Olukoyede, has pledged to refocus the anti-corruption war by adopting modalities capable of stimulating economic growth and development.
He gave the assurance while addressing members of staff of Ilorin Zonal Command of EFCC, at the Commission’s Office, GRA, Ilorin.
Olukoyede promised a paradigm shift in the agency’s approach to anti-graft war, to make it more proactive and result oriented.
“There is need for us to refocus our attention in EFCC. We need to define our scope of mandate with a view to stimulate the economy of the country.
“The era of stifling and crippling of businesses with unwarranted PNDs is gone.
“We must be able to separate proceeds of crime from legitimate funds and use the instrumentality of our mandate to create wealth and jobs for people.
“We will also use the instrumentality of our mandate to create conducive environment for businesses to thrive for a sustainable economic growth”, he said.
The EFCC boss also pledged to prioritise staff welfare, stressing that he was already in talks with the government for necessary support.
“We have done it before and we are going to do it again”, he assured.
Olukoyede asked officers of the commission to be above board and avoid acts of compromise in their line of duty, stressing, “We owe our nation the sacred duty of making this country free of corruption and crimes”.
He urged members of staff to work together for a good course and see themselves as officers having the same rights and privileges as encapsulated in Section 8 (5) of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004.
The TIde’s source reports that the executive Chairman had earlier visited the palace of Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Zulu Gambari, where he called on traditional rulers to deepen their partnership with EFCC.
He called for more cooperation in order to reduce corruption through adequate promotion of ethics, values and behavioral change among their subjects.
“Our royal fathers have a crucial role to play by using your good offices to champion the crusade against corruption among your subjects.
Responding, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Zulu Gambari pledged to continue supporting EFCC and other law enforcement agencies in stamping out corruption and other form of criminalities in the State.
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