The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over “the failure to thoroughly, effectively and transparently investigate spending on all social safety nets and poverty alleviation programmes and projects executed between 2015 and 2022.”
Joined in the suit as respondent is the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
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SERAP cited a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics that had shown that some 133 million Nigerians were poor, despite the government reportedly spending N500 billion yearly on ‘social investment programmes,’ saying half of the poor people in the country are children.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/2357/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to thoroughly and transparently investigate the spending on all social safety-nets and poverty alleviation programs and projects executed between 2015 and 2022.”
The rights group is asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to ensure that suspected perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement of public funds meant to take care of the poor face prosecution, as appropriate, and any stolen public funds are recovered.”
“Nigerians have the right to be free from poverty. Allegations of corruption in social safety nets and poverty alleviation programmes pose both direct and indirect threats to human rights, and contribute to extreme poverty in the country,” the group said.
“Investigating the allegations of corruption in the spending on social safety nets and poverty alleviation programmes and projects and recovering any stolen public funds would serve the public interest.”
“The Federal Government has a legal responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability in how public funds are spent, to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.