BY MOYINOLUWA BAMIDELE-LUCAS
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has filed a lawsuit to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from spending “N26bn in the 2022 presidency budget on local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments, ‘sitting allowance’, ‘welfare package’, and office building.”
This was contained in a suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/1361/2021 filed last Friday by the human rights group.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
In the suit, SERAP is seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to cut the N26bn presidency budget on local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments, and to send a supplementary appropriation bill to the National Assembly to reflect the reduction.”
SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to publish spending details on the State House Medical Center since May 29, 2015, to date; and to redirect some of the money on travels and meals to improve public healthcare facilities across the country.”
The rights group is arguing that “the government would continue to borrow to fund the country’s budget until there is a substantial cut to the cost of governance.
It is in the public interest to stop the government from spending so much money on these items. Persistent borrowing is neither sustainable nor fair to the Nigerian people.”
According to SERAP, “The huge spending by the presidency is neither necessary nor in the public interest, especially in the face of the country’s dire economic position, the scant allocations to education and health, and the growing level of borrowing by the Federal Government to fund the 2022 budget.”
Also, the group said, “The Buhari administration has constitutional and fiduciary duties to ensure a responsible budget spending and the well-being and prosperity of Nigerians. Some of the proposed spendings could be better allocated to improve access of poor Nigerians to basic public goods and services.”
SERAP also said, “Any spending of public funds should stay within the limits of constitutional responsibilities, and oath of office by public officers, as well as comply with Chapter 2 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution [as amended] relating to fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.”
The body is also arguing that “unless the reliefs sought are granted, the Federal Government will continue to benefit from the breach of the law, and the proposed spending of N26bn would leave the poorest and most vulnerable people without access to essential public goods and services, and burden the next generation.”