Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has alleged that governors of Nigeria’s 36 states and Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have diverted N40tn meant for local governments since 1999.
SERAP urged the governors and the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nyesom Wike, to disclose details of federal allocations meant for local governments since the return to democracy.
SERAP also appealed to them “to promptly invite the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments in your state and the FCT since May 1999.”
In a freedom of information request dated January 27, 2024, and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP argued that “Nigerians have the right to know the details of actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations” in each state and the FCT.
According to SERAP, states and the FCT should always publish information pertaining to their actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments.
The organisation said its findings showed that the 36 states and the FCT “have collected over N40tn federal allocations meant for the 774 local governments areas in the country and FCT”.
Oluwadare said, “SERAP is concerned that despite the country’s enormous oil wealth, ordinary Nigerians have derived very little benefit from oil money primarily because of widespread grand corruption, and the culture of impunity of perpetrators.”
The group told the governors and the FCT Minister that, “Opacity in the amounts of federal allocations actually disbursed to local governments in your state has continued to have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens and the public interest.”
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel you and your state and the FCT to comply with our requests in the public interest.
“Transparency in the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local governments is fundamental to increase accountability, prevent corruption, and build trust in democratic institutions, and strengthen the rule of law.
“Transparency would ensure that the allocations are not diverted into private pockets, and increase public trust that the money would be used to benefit Nigerians resident in these local government areas.”