SERAP Threatens Legal Action Against 36 Governors, Wike Over Unaccounted Trillions In FAAC Allocations

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called upon the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, and the 36 Nigerian state governors to provide detailed documentation regarding the allocation and expenditure of Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) funds since 1999.

Additionally, SERAP implored them to bring in both the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to collaborate in overseeing the expenditure of FAAC allocations by their respective states and the FCT. 

Furthermore, they urged for an investigation into any corruption allegations associated with these allocations.

SERAP made these requests in response to reports indicating that the FAAC distributed N1.123 trillion to the federal, state, and local governments solely for March 2024. Of this amount, states received N398.689 billion.

In the Freedom of Information (FOI) requests dated 20 April 2024 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation emphasised the necessity for transparency regarding the utilisation of public funds, including FAAC allocations, stating that Nigerians should be informed about how these funds are spent.

SERAP emphasized that without access to information on the utilization of FAAC allocations, Nigerians are unable to monitor the actions of their states and the FCT, hindering their ability to fulfil their duties as citizens. 

They further claimed that trillions of FAAC allocations received by Nigeria’s states and the FCT have been misused, posing a direct threat to the human rights of socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians.

The FoI requests partly read: “Ensuring that the FAAC allocations received by your state and the FCT are spent to achieve the security and welfare of Nigerians are serious and legitimate public interests.

“Secrecy in the spending of FAAC allocations received by your state and the FCT is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations.

“Secrecy in the spending of FAAC allocations received by your state and the FCT also denies Nigerians the right to know how public funds are spent. Transparency in the spending would allow them to retain control over their government.

“The documents should include the evidence and list of specific projects completed with the FAAC allocations collected, the locations of any such projects and completion reports of the projects.

“The documents should also include details of the salaries and pensions paid from the FAAC allocations collected, as well as the details of projects executed on hospitals and schools with the FAAC allocations.

“Despite the increased FAAC allocations to states and FCT, millions of residents in your state and the FCT continue to face extreme poverty and lack access to basic public goods and services.

“The reported removal of petrol subsidy and the floating of the exchange rate by the Federal Government has translated into increased FAAC allocations to states and the FCT. However, there is no corresponding improvement in the security and welfare of millions of Nigerians.

“FAAC allocations received by your state and the FCT are reportedly characterised by mismanagement, diversion of funds, and abandoned projects. FAAC allocations have also been allegedly spent for other purposes such as election campaigns and political patronage.

“Publishing the documents on the spending of FAAC allocations by your state and the FCT would promote transparency, accountability, and reduce the risks of corruption in the spending of the funds.

“Publishing the documents would enable Nigerians to meaningfully engage in the implementation of projects executed with the FAAC allocations collected.

“The report that some 140 million Nigerians are poor suggests corruption and mismanagement in the spending of trillions of naira in FAAC allocations collected by your state and the FCT.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 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.

“According to our information, the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) last week disbursed N1.123 trillion to the federal, state and local governments for March 2024.

“State governments got N398.689 billion while local government councils got N288.688 billion. The mineral-producing states received an additional N90.124 billion (13% of mineral revenue). In February, states collected N336 billion.

“According to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the federal, states and local governments shared N10.143 trillion from the Federation Account as statutory revenue allocations in 2023, with states collecting N3.585 trillion.

“SERAP also urges you to provide details of the transparency and accountability mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the trillions of naira of FAAC allocations that have been received by your state and the FCT are not embezzled, misappropriated or diverted into private pockets.

“SERAP is concerned about the persistent lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of FAAC allocations by your state and the FCT.

“SERAP notes that Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution requires public institutions to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.

“Section 16(2) of the Nigerian Constitution further provides that, ‘the material resources of the nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good.’

“Section 13 of the Nigerian Constitution imposes clear responsibility on your state to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of Chapter 2 of the constitution.

“Nigeria has made legally binding commitments under the UN Convention against Corruption to ensure accountability in the management of public resources.

“Nigerians are entitled to the right to receive information without any interference or distortion, and the enjoyment of this right should be based on the principle of maximum disclosure, and a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.

“The Freedom of Information Act, Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantee to everyone the right to information, including the documents on the spending of FAAC allocations by your state.

“The Nigerian Constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their public institutions’ activities.”

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