Missing N40trn LGA Allocations: Wike, Governors Dragged To Court

52

A legal action has been instituted against the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, and the 36 state governors over their failure to account for the alleged missing N40 trillion federal allocations meant for Local Governments in the states and the FCT.

The suit was initiated by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), sequel to what it termed the damning revelations by former President Muhammadu Buhari, who in December 2022 stated that “If the money from the Federation Account to the State is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman, but he will sign that he received N100 million. The chairman will pocket the balance and share it.”

In the suit designated FHC/ABJ/CS/231/2024 filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja, the group is asking the court to direct and compel the governors to publish details of LGA allocations and actual disbursement of the allocations to local governments in their respective states from 1999 to date.

SERAP is further praying to the court to compel and direct Wike to publish details of federal allocations meant for the Area Councils in the FCT and the actual disbursement of the allocations to the Area Councils in the FCT from 1999 to date.

In its argument before the court, SERAP contended that “The Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), the Freedom of Information Act, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights impose transparency obligations on the governors and Mr Wike to publish the details of LGA allocations and actual disbursement in their states and the FCT.

“State governors and Mr Wike cannot hide under the excuse that the Freedom of Information Act is not applicable to their states and the FCT.

“The legal obligations to publish the information sought are also imposed by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

According to SERAP, “It is in the public interest and the interest of justice to grant this application. Nigerians are entitled to their constitutionally and internationally recognized human right to information.

“Transparency in the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments is fundamental to increase accountability, prevent corruption, build trust in democratic institutions, and strengthen the rule of law.

“States and the FCT should be guided by transparency and accountability principles and proactively publish information pertaining to their actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments.”

The legal action filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Kehinde Oyewumi and Andrew Nwankwo, read in part: “Opacity in the amounts of federal allocations actually disbursed to local governments in the states and FCT has continued to have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens.

“The constitutional principle of democracy provides a foundation for Nigerians’ right to know details of spending of public funds. Citizens’ right to know promotes openness, transparency, and accountability that is in turn crucial for the country’s democratic order.”

While arguing that the Nigerian Constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities, the group insisted that implicit in the freedom of expression is the public’s right to know what governments are doing on their behalf, without which truth would languish and people’s participation in government would remain fragmented.

New Telegraph

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept

Dental Implant