The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate corruption in the Water, Health and Education sectors.
This call was necessitated as a result of claims that the current administration has failed to keep its promises to Nigerians.
Speaking on Wednesday at a media briefing in Lagos, SERAP Deputy Director, Oluwadare Kolawole told journalists this at a press briefing themed, “‘Failed Promises: Corruption in the Water, Health and Education Sectors in Nigeria.”
SERAP said that President Buhari’s government has made little or no progress in fulfilling the promises made to Nigerians to fight grand corruption, end impunity of perpetrators, respect the rule of law, and ensure access of socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians to basic public goods and services, such as quality education healthcare, and regular and uninterrupted water supply.
On the premise of this, Kolawole urged the President to without further delay direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and appropriate anti-corruption agencies, to thoroughly, transparently and effectively investigate the cases of corruption in the water, health and education sector as well documented in the 2018 and 2019 Auditor General’s reports.
He however said, “Unless the president makes good on his promises and constitutional oath of office, SERAP will consider exploring appropriate legal action to compel the Federal Government to act as recommended in the public interest.”
The group cited indices of corruption in the country, even as it highlighted some of its achievements in the year 2022.
The group explained that the pursuit of SERAP’s legal advocacy is to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
It stated that SERAP has issued more than 70 freedom of information requests in 2022, filed more than 60 public interest lawsuits against the federal government, the National Assembly and state governments, out of which 22 was filed in 2022 – majorly calling on government to be accountable to the people, by living up to government’s statutory responsibilities.
“For instance, SERAP 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 programs and projects executed between 2015 and 2022.” The Federal Government reportedly spending N500 billion yearly on ‘social investment programs.
“In the suit SERAP asked 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.”
“SERAP also filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over “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 the group, the aim of its advocacy initiative is to ensure that the common man gets the benefits of democracy.
Recall that sometime last year, the organisation decried the effect of corruption in Water, Health and Education sectors, saying the menace is plunging Nigerians further into poverty as well as impacting on People With Disabilities, PWDs.
This year’s engagement was also supported by Luminate, and had in attendance critical stakeholders, such as the National Orientation Agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, international Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, and members of PWDs.