The 36 state governors of Nigeria and Mr. Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have been urged by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to reveal the details of federal funds designated for local governments in their individual states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as well as the precise distribution of these funds to the local governments since the restoration of democracy in 1999.
Furthermore, since May 1999, SERAP has pushed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to begin looking into the real distribution and use of federal monies meant for local governments in the states and the Federal Territory.
SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, signed a January 27th request for freedom of information on behalf of the organisation. The request stressed that Nigerians have a right to know the specifics of how federal funds are actually allocated to the states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The foIlowing request read in part: “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.
“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.
“SERAP is seriously concerned that years of allegations of corruption and mismanagement of federal allocations meant for local governments have contributed to widespread poverty, underdevelopment and lack of access to public goods and services in several states.
“You have a legal responsibility to promote transparency and accountability in the actual disbursement and spending of federal allocations meant for local government areas in your state, and to ensure that the allocations are fully disbursed to the local governments.
“According to our information, the 36 states in Nigeria and the federal capital territory, Abuja, have collected over N40 trillion federal allocations meant for the 774 local governments areas in the country and FCT.
“The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursed to states N225.21 billion federal allocations meant for local governments in November 2023 alone. States also collected N258,810,449,711.47 federal allocations meant for local government areas in December 2023.
“However, there is opacity in the actual disbursement of federal allocations to the local government areas in your state. States and the FCT have over the years failed and/or refused to disclose the portion of federal allocations that are disbursed by state governors.
“SERAP notes that former president Muhammadu Buhari recently alleged that state governors routinely pocket or divert federal allocations meant for local governments areas in their states.
“According to Buhari, ‘If the money from the Federation Account to the State is about N100 million, N50 million will be sent to the chairman but he will sign that he received N100 million. The chairman will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with.”
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