N2bn palliatives: SERAP issues governors ultimatum to publish spending details

THE Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP) has issued state governors a seven-day ultimatum to publish the spending details of the N2 billion disbursed by the Federal Government as part of interventions to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.

The organisation disclosed this via its official X handle on Sunday, September 10.

“We’ve given Nigeria’s 36 state governors seven days to publish details on the spending of the N72 billion fuel subsidy palliative disbursed to them by the Federal Government, including the names of beneficiaries and the reliefs provided with the money,” SERAP posted.

In a letter signed by the organisation’s Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare dated September 9, SERAP noted that transparency and accountability in the spending of the palliative funds would check inclinations to corruption, adding that legal steps would be taken if the deadline is not met.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel you and your state to comply with our request in the public interest.

“The oversight afforded by public access to the details of the spending of the N2 billion palliative and any subsequent disbursement would serve as an important check on the activities of your state and help to prevent abuses of the public trust,” the letter read.

On Friday, September 1, the Federal Government announced it had released two billion naira out of five billion naira it offered to states as palliatives to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.






     

     

    The five billion, which is a loan to be repaid, was approved for the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in August due to the hike in fuel prices, transport and food costs due to the removal of petrol subsidy by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu.

    An initial plan by the government to pay N8,000 to 12 million poor households for six months was met with backlash, as many Nigerians described it as unsustainable and an attempt to squirrel public funds.

    Tinubu declared fuel subsidy gone during his inaugural speech on May 29, which resulted in marketers’ immediate hoarding of petrol and a hike in the pump price of the product by about 200 per cent.

    Transport costs and commodities prices jumped, leaving many residents in dire straits.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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