The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has leveled damning allegations against Nigeria’s governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, accusing them of diverting a staggering N40 trillion intended for local governments since the inception of democracy in 1999.
In a bold move to hold state authorities accountable, SERAP issued a Freedom of Information request, urging the governors and the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, to disclose comprehensive details of federal allocations earmarked for local governments over the past two decades.
The Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, emphasized the Nigerian public’s right to full disclosure regarding the disbursement and utilization of federal allocations at the state and FCT levels. The organization underscored the critical importance of transparency to combat endemic corruption and ensure the equitable distribution of resources.
According to SERAP’s findings, the 36 states and the FCT have collectively received over N40 trillion in federal allocations destined for the 774 local government areas and the FCT. Despite Nigeria’s substantial oil wealth, SERAP lamented the minimal benefits derived by ordinary citizens, attributing this disparity to systemic corruption and impunity among perpetrators.
Expressing concern over the pervasive opacity surrounding federal allocation disbursements, SERAP highlighted the adverse consequences for public welfare and democratic governance. The group asserted that enhanced transparency is essential to foster accountability, curb corruption, and bolster public trust in democratic institutions.
In a pointed directive to state authorities, SERAP called for swift action within seven days to comply with its requests, warning of potential legal recourse should transparency measures remain unmet. The organization stressed the imperative of ensuring that federal allocations are not misappropriated for personal gain but rather utilized to uplift Nigerian communities and enhance public welfare.
As Nigeria grapples with systemic challenges of corruption and governance accountability, SERAP’s advocacy underscores the pivotal role of transparency in fostering democratic integrity and advancing the collective interests of Nigerian citizens across all local government areas.