President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been accused of failing to probe the missing ecological funds at all levels.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) which made the allegation, also filed a lawsuit against the President.
Joined in the suit as Respondents are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
In a statement on Sunday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the decision to file a lawsuit followed “the failure to probe the spending of trillions of ecological funds by governments at all levels—federal, state and local governments from 2001 to date, and to ensure the prosecution of suspected perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement of public funds.”
According to him, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently said that no fewer than 600 persons died and 1.3 million were rendered homeless as a result of the floods that ravaged most states across the country, with destruction of properties worth billions.
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/2283/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to promptly and thoroughly investigate the spending of Ecological Fund by governments at the Federal, state and local government levels from 2001 to date.”
The rights group also wants the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to ensure that suspected perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement of trillions of ecological funds are promptly brought to justice, and any missing public funds fully recovered.”
“The failure to probe the alleged missing trillions, prosecute suspected perpetrators and recover any missing public funds is a fundamental breach of constitutional and international legal obligations,” the statement partly read.
“Impunity for corruption in the management of Ecological Fund will continue as long as high-ranking public officials go largely unpunished for their alleged crimes.
“It is in the public interest to direct and compel President Buhari to probe these allegations so that evidence can be taken before the court and the truth about the spending of ecological funds revealed, and justice served.”
The group alleged further that the Federal Government has violated the obligations to protect and uphold the human rights of those affected, and to provide them with access to justice and effective remedies.
It argued that the Federal Government has the legal obligation to address the calamitous consequences of flooding for the human rights of millions of people and to prevent and address the consequences that climate change may reap on human rights.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.