In a bid to promote transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s governance, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called upon President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to release comprehensive details regarding the expenditure of approximately N400 billion in fuel subsidy savings. The organization emphasized the need for transparency in utilizing these funds and ensuring they are not misappropriated or diverted into private pockets. SERAP’s request aligns with public interest and anti-corruption concerns, and it underscores the importance of citizen access to information about government activities.
Following the implementation of the policy to remove subsidy payments on Premium Motor Spirit, commonly known as petrol, the Nigerian government reportedly saved N400 billion within a four-week period. SERAP, through a letter signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare on July 1, 2023, urged President Tinubu to disclose the spending plans for the saved funds, including specific projects and mechanisms in place to prevent corruption and ensure the benefits reach the 137 million impoverished Nigerians most affected by the subsidy removal.
Transparency and accountability are paramount in the spending of public funds, especially those derived from the removal of subsidies that directly impact citizens’ livelihoods. SERAP highlighted the legal responsibilities of the government and the necessity to prevent corruption while addressing the challenges brought about by the subsidy removal. The organization also emphasized that citizens have the right to know how these savings will be utilized, as transparency fosters trust, accountability, and reduces the risk of mismanagement.
By invoking the Freedom of Information Act, the Nigerian Constitution, and international human rights conventions, SERAP called on President Tinubu to meet the transparency obligations imposed on the government. The Constitution obligates the government to conform, observe, and apply the provisions outlined in Chapter 2, while also abolishing corrupt practices and abuse of power. Furthermore, the government has a responsibility to ensure the welfare, freedom, and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality.
The UN Convention against Corruption and other international instruments further stress the importance of proper management and transparent administration of public affairs, urging governments to prioritize the common good and sound governance practices. In light of these obligations, SERAP’s request for disclosure aligns with global standards and demonstrates a commitment to upholding citizens’ rights to information and promoting responsible governance.
SERAP’s call for President Tinubu to disclose the details of N400 billion fuel subsidy savings resonates with the public’s demand for transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s governance. The organization’s plea aligns with anti-corruption efforts and emphasizes the importance of ensuring that funds saved from subsidy removal are utilized for the benefit of the most vulnerable Nigerians. By adhering to transparency obligations imposed by national and international laws, President Tinubu’s government can demonstrate its commitment to good governance and instill public confidence in the management of public funds.
Source: Punch Newspaper
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