THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has filed a lawsuit against President Bola Tinubu over his administration’s failure to probe alleged missing funds for unaccounted oil revenues and repair of refineries between 2020 and 2021.
This is contained in a statement released by the organisation’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, on Sunday, November 5, 2023.
The suit follows the 2021 report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/2334/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to probe the allegations that US$15bn of oil revenue, and N200bn budgeted to repair and maintain the refineries in Nigeria are missing and unaccounted for.”
SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to direct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to probe allegations of corruption involving the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPDC) and State Owned Enterprises (SOE).”
The organisation also seeks an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to use any recovered proceeds of corruption to enhance the well-being of Nigerians.
In the suit, SERAP argues that: “There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring justice and accountability for these serious allegations. Granting the reliefs sought would end the impunity of perpetrators and ensure justice for victims of corruption.”
It also argues that the allegations of corruption documented by NEITI undermine economic development of the country, trap the majority of Nigerians in poverty and deprive them of opportunities.
It said, “Unless the President is directed and compelled to get to the bottom of these damning revelations, suspected perpetrators would continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes and enjoy the fruits of their crimes.
“Many years of allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending of oil revenues and impunity of perpetrators have undermined public trust and confidence in governments at all levels.
The ICIR reported that, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), in its 2021 report, released on September 19, 2023, revealed how 14 government agencies, including the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NNPC) and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPDC), failed to remit $9.85 billion in revenue to the federation account in one year.
NEITI said the unremitted funds accounted for 8.47 per cent of the federal government’s $23 billion total revenue during the year.
The organization stated that NPCL failed to provide a clear account of $1.951 billion generated as revenue for the federal government in 2021.
Reacting to the report, SERAP had said the findings by NEITI revealed a grave violation of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], national anti-corruption laws, and the country’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption and asked President Bola Tinubu to investigate the missing funds.
The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare, Andrew Nwankwo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke. But, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.