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Promoting Good Governance.

SERAP, EiE, BudgIT ask Buratai to account for 3 years army budgets

THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Enough is Enough (EiE), and BudgIT have asked the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai to urgently provide information on the 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget implementation of the Nigerian Army.

The civil society group also specifically demanded for details of the amounts released and expended by the army  during the three-year period.

The group’s demand is contained in a joint Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent to Buratai asking the army chief to furnish them with the amounts released expended various operations, such as  Lafiya Dole,  Safe Haven, Python Dance, Ruwan Wuta, Delta Safe, Mesa, Harbin Kunama, Awatse, Tsera Teku and Crocodile Smile.

According to a statement on the official website of SERAP, the FOI request sent last week  was signed by Bamisope Adeyanju of SERAP, Seun Akinyemi of EiE and Atiku Samuel of BudgIT.

The group said it would take all appropriate legal actions under the FOI to compel the army to comply with the request if  the army fails to release the information after 14 days of receiving the FOI request.

The civil society group maintained that the  transparency of the budget process and its implementation is an essential condition to achieve good governance.

The group argued that the details of expenditure by the army would shed light on military spending, adding that it would stop the perceived lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of military budget, which has been a subject of intense public debate and concern.

“Several billions of naira allocated to the military to defend the country and protect its people have neither contributed to improving the ability of Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram and other armed groups nor provided the much-needed security especially for Nigerians in the North-east of the country,” the group said.

The FOI request read in part: “the information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act. The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, would serve the national interest,public welfare, public interest and peace, human rights, good governance, transparency and accountability.

“By virtue of Section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, we are entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget implementation reports of the Nigerian Army, and the amounts released (financial implications) and expended in fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the various operations listed, which have yielded no tangible result.”

“Also, by virtue of Section 4(a) of the FOI Act, when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or agency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”

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