The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Lagos Federal High Court to compel Nigeria’s Federal Government to publish the details of the N388.304billion London-Paris Club loan refund.
The move, according to SERAP, will give Nigerians some answers about how their governors spent the Paris Club refunds disbursement, allegedly diverted and mismanaged by the 35 states governors.
In the suit number FCH/CS/523/17 filed on Monday, SERAP is seeking “an order to compel the Accountant General of the Federation Alh. Ahmed Idris, to compile and pass on to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, information relating to the release and spending of N388.304billion London Paris Club Loan refunds to the states.
“For the Attorney-General of the Federation to use the information on the spending by the 35 states to initiate legal action against the states that allegedly diverted and mismanaged the funds with a view to compelling the states to widely publish, including on a dedicated website, details of spending of the funds by them.”
SERAP’s deputy director, Timothy Adewale, stated this in a statement he signed and released on Tuesday.
The suit reads in part, “The Applicant argues that allegations of corruption and mismanagement of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds by states have undermined the human dignity of workers and pensioners facing difficult circumstances that deprive them of their capacity to fully realize their internationally recognized economic and social rights.
“The allegations of corruption in the spending of the London Paris Club loan refunds have also exacerbated poverty, social exclusion, and violated the government’s obligation to use its maximum available resources to fully realise the right of all persons especially workers and pensioners who are the most vulnerable sectors of the population.”
SERAP, among other relief is seeking for, “an order of mandamus compelling the Respondent to urgently compile and pass on to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, information relating to the release and spending of N388.304billion London Paris Club Loan refunds to 35 States by the Federal Government, so that the Attorney-General of the Federation can take steps to initiate legal action against the States that allegedly diverted and mismanaged the funds with a view to compelling the states to widely publish, including on a dedicated website, details of spending of the funds by them.”
The suit was brought under Order 34 Rules 1(1)(A), 2, 3(1) and (2)(A), (B) and (C) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009; Section 26(2) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000; Section 1(1),(2),(3); 2(7) , 4(A), and 20 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011; Section 15(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); and the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government released N388.304billion of the N522.74 billion to 35 states as refunds of over-deductions on London-Paris Club loans.
The amounts received by the states are as follows: Akwa Ibom N14.5bn; Bayelsa N14.5bn; Delta N14.5bn; Kaduna N14.3bn; Katsina N14,5bn; Lagos N14.5bn; Rivers N14.5bn; and Borno N13,654138,849.49.
Others are: Imo 13bn; Jigawa 13.2bn; Niger N13.4bn; Bauchi N12.7bn and Benue N12.7bn, Anambra N11.3bn; Cross River N11.3bn8; Edo N11.3bn; Kebbi N11bn; Kogi N11.2bn; Osun N11.7bn; Sokoto N11.9bn; Abia N10.6bn; Ogun N10.6bn; Plateau N10.4bn; Yobe N10bn; and Zamfara N10bn. Other states are: Adamawa N4.8bn; Ebonyi N3.3bn; Ekiti N8.8bn; Enugu N9.9bn; Gombe N8.3bn; Kwara N5.4bn; Nasarawa N8.4bn; Ondo N6.5bn; Oyo N7.2bn and Taraba N4.2bn.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.