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Top ranking Nigerian politicians receive warning from SERAP



Top ranking Nigerian politicians receive warning from SERAP

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has intensified its push for transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s governance by urging the nation’s 36 state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nyesom Wike, to disclose the details of loans obtained by their respective states.

In a recent development, SERAP has called upon these officials to widely publish copies of loan agreements and spending details totaling some N5.9 trillion and $4.6 billion, including information about the projects executed with these loans.

The organization’s call for transparency comes in the wake of Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani’s revelation that the previous administration left the state in a dire financial situation, with a significant debt burden and contractual liabilities, making it challenging to meet basic obligations such as paying salaries.

In a series of Freedom of Information requests dated March 30, 2024, and signed by SERAP’s deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization stressed the importance of making public the utilization of loans acquired by state governments.

SERAP emphasized that Nigerians have a right to know how their states are utilizing both domestic and external loans procured by governors.

The organization highlighted that the wide publication of loan agreements and spending details would promote transparency and accountability, crucial for bolstering democratic institutions and curbing corruption.

Furthermore, SERAP urged the state governors and the FCT Minister to promptly invite anti-corruption agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the spending of these loans.

The organization expressed serious concerns about the potential mismanagement and diversion of public funds, emphasizing the need for transparency to prevent such occurrences. SERAP underscored that the disclosure of loan agreements and spending details would enable Nigerians to scrutinize and engage effectively in the management of public funds.

Highlighting legal obligations under national and international laws, including the Nigerian Constitution, human rights treaties, and the Freedom of Information Act, SERAP emphasized that transparency in loan utilization is crucial for promoting development and preventing abuse of public trust.

The organization warned that failure to comply with their request within seven days would result in legal action to compel adherence in the public interest.