May 22, 2020

Again, SERAP tells Buhari to obey rule of law, enforce court orders

Again, SERAP tells Buhari to obey rule of law, enforce court orders

By Nwafor Sunday

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has on Friday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to adhere and respect the rule of law and constitutionalism of the country, by enforcing court judgments.

The Rights group listed some of the judgments it accused Buhari of not enforcing. They include;

“The judgment by Justice M. Idris ordering his government to publish spending details of stolen funds recovered by governments since 1999.

“The judgment by Justice Oguntoyinbo ordering the federal government to recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly and directing the Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors, etc to collect such pensions.

“The judgment by Justice Mohammed Idris ordering the prosecution of senior lawmakers suspected of padding and stealing N481 billion from the 2016 budget; and the publication of the report of investigations into the alleged padding of the 2016 budget.

“The judgment by Justice Obiozor ordering the immediate release of names of companies that have received public funds to execute electricity projects but have failed to carry out any projects, and payment details to electricity contractors since 1999.”

Recall that the Rights group had on earlier this week wrote to Buhari to Copy Namibia example, ban car perks for Presidency, ministers serving in his administration.

Bellow is the content of the letter:

“The expenditure of public funds requires the highest degree of public trust. It is the constitutional duty of every public official to protect and preserve the public interest in public spending.”

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“Imposing a ban on new cars by the presidency, ministers and encouraging the National Assembly and governors to do the same would serve the public interest, and contribute to cutting the cost of governance.

The constitutional oaths of office by public officials include the responsibility to prioritise the well-being of Nigerians.

“Copying the Namibia example will also show that public funds will be spent for the benefit of the people, and not as a prerogative for the advantage of the government or the benefit of public officials.

“SERAP also urges you to consider banning spending on generators in the presidency, and cutting spending on items like furniture and fittings, refreshments, catering services and purchase of kitchen and household equipment.”

“As the government prepares to finalise the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget, we urge you to immediately impose ban on the purchase of new cars by the presidency, and to encourage the National Assembly and the 36 state governors to do the same, and to ensure that public funds are used for the benefit of the public.

“SERAP remains concerned that several state governments are failing to pay workers’ salaries, and that the Federal Government is failing to pay pensioners’ entitlements.

“This is a clear violation of the right to work recognized under article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party. The right to work is essential for realizing other human rights and forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.

“According to reports, Namibia’s president Hage Geingobon on Thursday imposed a five-year ban on buying new cars for top politicians and government officials from buying new cars in order to redirect the funds to fight COVID-19 in his country.

“This presidential directive is expected to save the country some 200 million Namibian dollars (US$10.7 million), which would then be directed to “to urgent priorities, specifically at a time when the country is dealing with the health and economic implications of COVID-19.

“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in acting to ensure and promote the public interest and the common good in public spending.