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Subsidy: Disclose Details On Spending Of N2bn Palliative – SERAP Tells Govs

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has implored the 36 state governors in the country to “disclose details on spending of the N2 billion palliative recently disbursed to each state by the Federal Government, including the names of beneficiaries and details of the reliefs so far provided with the money.”

Recall that the FG disbursed N2 billion out of the N5 billion palliative packages for each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to address the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy.

SERAP in an open letter dated 9 September 2023 and signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “It is in the public interest to publish the details on spending of the N2 billion palliative and any subsequent disbursement of funds to your government.”

The letter, reads in part: “We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel you and your state to comply with our request in the public interest.

“The oversight afforded by public access to the details of the spending of the N2 billion palliative and any subsequent disbursement would serve as an important check on the activities of your state and help to prevent abuses of the public trust.

“The constitutional principle of democracy also provides a foundation for Nigerians’ right to know details on spending of the N2 billion fuel subsidy palliative. Citizens’ right to know promotes openness, transparency, and accountability that is in turn crucial for the country’s democratic order.

“The effective operation of representative democracy depends on the people being able to scrutinise, discuss and contribute to government decision making, including on the fuel subsidy relief funds.

“Your state cannot hide under the excuse that the Freedom of Information Act is not applicable to your state to refuse to provide the details being sought, as your state also has clear legal obligations to provide the information as prescribed by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and. Enforcement) Act.

“SERAP urges you to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to jointly track and monitor the spending of the N2 billion fuel subsidy palliative and any subsequent disbursement of public funds to your state.”

DIPLOMATIC DIARY

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