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SERAP sues Tinubu’s gov’t, demands details of loans obtained by Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, others

THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Bola Tinubu’s administration for failing to publish spending details of the loans obtained by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and Muhammadu Buhari.

The suit was filed against the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, and the Debt Management Office (DMO).

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In the lawsuit filed on Friday, June 7, at the Federal High Court in Lagos, with the case number FHC/L/CS/353/2024, SERAP is requesting that the court direct and compel the Tinubu government to publish the loan agreements obtained by the government of the former presidents.
The expenditure details of any loans they obtained, including interest and other payments made.

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The SERAP requested that the court compel the Tinubu government to publish the details.
The SERAP claimed that publishing the details would help explain why millions of Nigerians continue to face extreme poverty and lack access to basic public goods and services despite several billions of dollars in loans obtained by successive governments.

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Andrew Nwankwo, read in part:”Publishing the loan agreements would improve public accountability in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

“Nigerians are entitled to information about what their government is doing in their name. This is part of their right to information.

“Publishing the agreements and spending details would allow the public to see how and on what these governments spent the loans and foster transparency and accountability.”

The statement further noted that publicly releasing the details of the loan agreements that were signed by the administrations of the former leaders would enable Nigerians to examine them closely and ask questions where needed.

According to the Debt Management Office, the total public domestic debt portfolio for Nigeria is N97.3 trillion ($108 billion). The Federal Government’s debt from the amount is N87.3 trillion ($97 billion).

“Nigeria paid $6.2 billion in 2019 as interest on loans while the country paid $6.5 billion as interest in 2018. Nigeria also paid $5 billion as interest on loans in 2017 while the country paid $4.4 billion as interest in 2016. For 2015, the interest paid on loans was $5.5 billion.” The statement read further.

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Citing the Nigerian Constitution, Freedom of Information Act, among others, SERAP noted that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s spending.

A date is yet to be fixed for the hearing of the suit.

 

Fatimah Quadri is a Journalist and a Fact-checker at The ICIR. She has written news articles, fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy in an effort to combat information disinformation.
She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected]

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