President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to probe the N39.5 billion allocation for “316 duplicated and mysterious projects” in 2021 budget.
In a recent report, an organisation, leading the advocacy for transparency and accountability in public finance, BudgIT, raised the alarm.
The group also exposed how 117 federal agencies demanded N24 billion for “security votes”.
SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, in a May 8 letter to Buhari, said the investigation must establish whether public funds have been mismanaged, diverted or stolen in the guise of implementing the duplicated and mysterious projects.
The organisation demanded that anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate and any stolen public funds be fully recovered.
SERAP regretted that the misallocation of public funds undermined the ability of the indicted Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) to implement well-thought-out policies, plans, and budgets.
The letter said the BudgIT revelation of the questionable projects in the 2021 appropriation bill of N13.588 trillion signed into law in December 2020 was worrisome.
The organisation said the discoveries suggested a grave violation of public trust and Nigerians’ rights to education, health, water, sanitation and a satisfactory environment.
SERAP lamented that MDAs have misallocated public funds at the expense of the people’s access to basic public services, and enjoyment of rights.
It noted that, “SERAP urges you to ask the heads of the MDAs involved to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with constitutional and international standards of transparency and accountability in the preparation, processes and decisions on their budgets, and to return any misallocated public funds to the public treasury.”