© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
SERAP seeks court order for Buhari to publish details of Nigeria’s loans since 2015
THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to direct President Muhammadu Buhari to publish details of loans taken so far by the country since May 2015.
This request was disclosed, after the human rights group filed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/785/2020 asking the Court in Abuja to compel the president to direct anti-corruption agencies in the country to monitor the disbursed spendings from loans incurred since May 2015.
In the suit, SERAP is demanding that the president give names of countries and bodies that have given the loans, specific repayment conditions, and whether any public officers solicited and/or received bribes in the negotiations for any of the loans, and if there is a plan to audit the spending of the loans, to resolve any allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
The suit also seeks for details of the interest rate on the loans taken by the country within the period, the total amount of debts t incurred by the government, as well as details of the projects on which the loans have been spent.
Other respondents to the lawsuit include Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Patience Oniha, Director-General of the Debt Management Office.
Justifying the essence of the lawsuit, SERAP, in a statement explained that Nigerians should be aware of the nature of the loans incurred on their behalf.
“This suit is permitted under the Freedom of Information Act, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.
“While access to loans can provide indispensable resources, the mismanagement and squandering of any such resources would be counter-productive. Nigerians should no longer be made to repay debts incurred in their name but which have not benefited them in any manner, shape or form,” the statement reveals.
President Buhari had sought the National Assembly’s approval for a loan of $5.513bn, reportedly to fund the 2020 budget deficit, critical projects, and support some states as the National Assembly also recently approved an N850 billion loan.
There is no specific date slated for the hearing of the suit yet.