By Abdulwahab Abdulah
LAGOS—Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the execution of defence and military budgets between 1999 and 2018 to promote transparency and accountability.
SERAP said the investigation will provide information for Nigerians in order to monitor the funds meant for military operations and also end the vulnerability and killings of Nigerian soldiers.
In the letter by a Senior Legal Adviser, Bamisope Adeyanju, SERAP said: “We believe that referral of the cases to ICC would serve as a deterrent and ensure that Nigerians, particularly those in the Northeast of the country whose right to life, human dignity, and an adequate standard of living have been violated are not denied justice and remedies.”
The organisation expressed “concern that several billions of naira allocated to the military to defend the country have neither contributed to improving the ability of Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram and other armed groups nor provided the much-needed security especially for Nigerians in the North-east of the country.”
It, therefore, urged President Buhari to, “move swiftly to implement these recommendations as a way of demonstrating your government’s commitment to end the perception of lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of military budgets in the context of the conflict in the Northeast and to ensure the safety and security of our solders and all Nigerians in that part of the country.”
The statement reads in part: “The military’s inability to respond adequately to the Boko Haram insurgency suggests, among other things, mismanagement in the spending of the country’s defence budgets.
“Establishing a Commission of Inquiry to investigate how defence and military budgets have been spent since 29 May 1999 would help Nigerians to know if the funds meant to defend the country and for purchase of arms to empower Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram have been transparently and accountably spent.”
“The activities of the commission must be open to the public and all those who have been responsible for the spending of the country’s defence and military budgets should be summoned to give a public account of how the money was spent.”