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SERAP sues Buhari, AGF, SGF over alleged mismanagement of ecological funds

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THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over the alleged mismanagement of ecological funds.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha were also joined in the suit as respondents.

The group accused the Federal Government of “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”.

The development is coming after floods ravaged most states across the country, which led to the loss of lives and rendered thousands homeless, with the destruction of properties.

According to the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/2283/2022, filed on Friday, December 2, at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP asked the court to compel Buhari to promptly investigate the spending of ecological funds by governments at the federal, state and local government levels.

The group argued that the failure of the government to probe the alleged missing funds, prosecute suspected perpetrators and recover any missing public funds is a breach of constitutional and international legal obligations.

It alleged that the Federal Government failed to fulfill its obligation to protect and uphold the human rights of those affected.

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The group also said the government failed in its responsibilities to provide them with access to justice and effective remedies.

“According to the audit of the Ecological Fund Office carried out by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the total amount received by the fund from December 2011 to November 2016 alone was N277 billion.

“The operations of the Fund from 2012 to 2016 reportedly showed that some of the disbursements were not utilised for the purpose for which it was established. During these periods, N74,170,932,645.20 was released to State Governments to solve ecological problems in their States.”

“Although ecological funds are shared across the three tiers of government, and emergency management agencies, the funds are managed and supervised by the Federal Government,” part of the originating summons filed by the group’s lawyer, Kolawole Oluwadare, read.

The court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the suit.

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