- President Muhammadu Buhari and the 36 state governors have been urged to reveal the details of the amount to be spent in their security votes in the 2021 Appropriation Bills
- The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects (SERAP) made this call on Sunday, December 27 via a Press Release issued via its Twitter handle (@SERAPNigeria)
According to SERAP, opening up on the security votes spending will make it easier for Nigerians to engage the government in meaningful and informed discourse on current security issues in the country.
Presented below is the Press Statement by SERAP:
“We’ve asked President Buhari and 36 governors to disclose details of proposed ‘security votes’ spending in their 2021 appropriation bills, and to explain the measures they are taking to prevent the misuse of public funds in the name of security votes.
“In the FoI requests sent yesterday, we said: “In the wake of the abduction of over 300 students from the Government Science School, Kankara, and ongoing security challenges, the time has come to demonstrate transparency and accountability in the spending of security votes.
“Disclosing details of spending as security votes for 2021 would serve to engage the Nigerian people in an honest conversation about the security challenges confronting the country, and what the federal and state governments are doing to respond to them.
“While SERAP understands that authorities may keep certain matters of operational secrets from the people in the name of national security, there is no constitutional or legal basis to hide basic information on public spending from the people.
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“Your government’s responsibility to guarantee and ensure the security and welfare of the Nigerian people is closely interlinked with your responsibility under Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of office.
“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.
“If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal action under the Nigerian Constitution, FOI, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to compel you to comply with our request.”
Additionally, SERAP stated that “The Nigerian Constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and the human rights treaties rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities.”