By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from spending N26 billion in the 2022 presidency budget on local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments, sitting allowance, welfare package and office building.

The suit was filed last Friday on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Adelanke Aremo.

The organisation is seeking: an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to cut the N26 billion budget and to send a supplementary appropriation bill to the National Assembly to reflect the reduction.

READ ALSO: SERAP sues Buhari, others over ‘missing N106bn in 149 MDAs’

SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to publish spending details on the State House Medical Centre since May 29, 2015;

“And to redirect some of the money on travels and meals to improve public healthcare facilities across the country.”

SERAP maintained that, “The government would continue to borrow to fund the country’s budget until there is a substantial cut to the cost of governance.

“It is in the public interest to stop the government from spending so much money on these items.

“Persistent borrowing is neither sustainable nor fair to the Nigerian people.”

According to SERAP, “The huge spending by the presidency is neither necessary nor in the public interest, especially in the face of the country’s dire economic position, the scant allocations to education and health, and the growing level of borrowing by the Federal Government to fund the 2022 budget.”

SERAP is also arguing that, “The Buhari administration has constitutional and fiduciary duties to ensure a responsible budget spending, and the well-being and prosperity of Nigerians.

“Some of the proposed spending could be better allocated to improve access of poor Nigerians to basic public goods and services.”

SERAP stated further that, “Any spending of public funds should stay within the limits of constitutional responsibilities, and oath of office by public officers, as well as comply with Chapter 2 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution [as amended] relating to fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.”

The suit read in part: “According to reports, the proposed N26 billion on travels, meals, refreshments and the presidential wing of the State House Clinic is more than the proposed allocations for ongoing and new projects in 14 teaching hospitals combined.

“N19.17 billion is allocated to the following teaching hospitals: UNILAG Teaching Hospital—N1.69bn; ABU Teaching Hospital—N2.38bn; University College Hospital, Ibadan—N1.49bn; and UNN Teaching Hospital—N1.38bn,” among others.

However, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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