Compel Buhari to publish loans obtained since 2015, SERAP urges court

A non-profit organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to “publish details of loans that have been obtained by the government since May 29, 2015.”

SERAP also demanded that the interest rate and the total amount of debts so far been incurred by the Buhari regime, as well as details of the projects on which the loans have been spent be made public.

This was contained in a statement on Sunday titled, “SERAP asks court to order Buhari to publish details of govt loans since 2015” and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

Some loans obtained by the Federal Government to facilitate projects in the country have been subject of controversy of late. The House of Representatives last week summoned the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to explain details of some Chinese loans channeled towards the construction of rail projects across the country.

Joined as respondents in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/785/2020 filed by SERAP are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha.

“This suit is permitted under the Freedom of Information Act, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party,” SERAP said in the statement obtained by our correspondent on Sunday.

The statement partly read, “SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to tell Nigerians the names of countries and bodies that have given the loans, specific repayment conditions, and whether any public officers solicited and/or received bribes in the negotiations for any of the loans, and if there is plan to audit the spending of the loans, to resolve any allegations of mismanagement and corruption.

“SERAP is also asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari to tell Nigerians if he would instruct the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to monitor the spending of all loans obtained since May 2015.”

The organisation also argued that the non-transparency in the spending of loans would continue to have negative impacts on the interests of citizens.

“Transparency would ensure that the loans are not diverted to private pockets, increase public trust that these loans would be used to benefit Nigerians, provide good value for money, and reassure Nigeria’s creditors,” it added.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
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