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Security Votes: SERAP Sues Buhari, National Assembly

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit in the Federal High Court, Abuja to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to disclose details of allocations, disbursement and spending of security votes by the Federal Government, 36 state governors and 774 local governments between 1999 and 2019.”

Others joined as parties in the suit are Senate president Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Ahmed Idris, Accountant General of the Federation and Mr Anthony Ayine, Auditor General for the Federation.

In a statement released on Sunday, the group argued that Nigerians have the constitutional and international human right to know details of the exact amounts that have been spent as security votes and specific areas and projects covered by the allocations, disbursement and spending.

“There is overriding public interest in Nigerians having access to these details, and the respondents have legal obligations to facilitate public access to such information.”

“Constitutional provisions requiring governments to ensure the security and welfare of the people are intended to protect the security and safety of citizens and not the security of a few individuals in government.

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“Without transparency and accountability, the mismanagement and corruption in the allocation, disbursement and spending of security votes will continue with devastating consequences.

“Public officials receiving and spending security votes ought to come clean with Nigerians on how exactly these public funds are spent. Unless the reliefs sought are granted, Nigerians would continue to see the appropriation of public funds as security votes as a tool for self-enrichment.

“The suit is seeking to offer governments at all levels an important opportunity to be transparent and accountable with the exercise of their discretionary powers in the allocation, disbursement and spending of security votes.

“The public interest in the disclosure of these details outweighs any private interest the respondents may be seeking to protect,” the statement read in part.

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