Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over “the failure to publish spending details of about N400bn so far saved as a result of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol.” The suit followed reports that the Federal Government has saved N400bn within the four weeks following the implementation of the removal of subsidy on petrol policy.”
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1514/2023 filed last week at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to publish details of spending of about N400 billion saved as a result of the removal of subsidy on petrol on 29 May, 2023.” SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to provide details of the plans on how the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol, including specific projects on which the funds would be spent.”
SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to provide details of the mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol are not diverted into private pockets.” In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “Nigerians have the right to know how the savings are spent. Disclosing the spending details of the savings would reduce the risks of corruption in the spending of the funds.”
SERAP is arguing that, “The Tinubu government has a legal obligation to ensure that the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol are spent solely for the benefit of the 137 million poor Nigerians who are bearing the brunt of the removal.” SERAP is also arguing that, “Opacity in the spending of the savings from subsidy removal would have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens and the public interest.”
According to SERAP, “the savings from subsidy removal may be embezzled, misappropriated or diverted into private pockets.” The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare, Ms Adelanke Aremo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke, read in part: “Transparency would increase public trust and confidence that these savings would be used to benefit Nigerians.”
“The Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities.”
In Another Development:
JNI rejects military action against Niger Republic
The apex Muslim organisation in Nigeria led by the Sultan of Sokoto, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI),has cautioned against the pursuit of military action as a means to restore democracy in Niger Republic.
Secretary General of the JNI,Professor Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, in a statement at the weekend, stated that the JNI representing the collective voice of the Muslim Ummah, expressed its deep concern and censure of power from a democratically elected President Bozoum, through military coup in Niger Republic.
The organisation noted the relevance of upholding democratic principles and the rule of law to fostering stability, development and steady progress within nations, “which are without doubt cornerstones for good governance, because they (democratic principles and rule of law) prevent arbitrary use of force and power, ensures consistency with international human rights, norms and standards, etc.”
“The JNI therefore commends the efforts so far undertaken by the Nigerian government, particularly the initiation of a dialogue process, aimed at resolving the crisis in Niger Republic. While this attempt may not have yielded the desired results, it demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment to peaceful resolutions. We acknowledge that dialogue is an invaluable tool in preventing further bloodshed and instability, within the Sahel Region, already beclouded with many political and security uncertainties.”
JNI however, raised a word of caution against the pursuit of military action as a means to restore democracy.
“The interlaced landscape of the northern states of Nigeria and the Republic of Niger, it necessitates a more circumspect and thoughtful action and/or approach. With several Nigerian states sharing borders with Niger Republic, military intervention could have unintended consequences that may impact the peace and stability of both nations,” JNI noted.
“JNI therefore calls upon all stakeholders to prioritise more diplomatic and political conciliation and collective efforts to the crisis. We believe strongly that dialogue, cooperation, and negotiation are the most effective means to establish lasting peace and stability in the region. It is equally essential that the international community, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), continues to engage in peaceful diplomatic discussions aimed at finding a resolution please.”
‘In these challenging times, we urge all faithful believers to turn to Allah in prayer, seeking His merciful intervention to guide leaders toward wise decisions and a peaceful resolution. Let us pray together for the restoration of peace and order, the protection of human rights, and the well-being of the people of Nigeria and Niger Republic.”
“Lastly, the JNI reiterates its commitment to promoting unity, understanding, and cooperation among all Muslims and communities. We stand united against any form of injustice, oppression, and violence, advocating for a peaceful and harmonious world. May Allah, the Compassionate and the Merciful, guide us all toward a path of peace, justice, and understanding. Aamin,” the statement added.