Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and members of the National Assembly suspected to be responsible for inserting N39.5 billion for 316 duplicated and mysterious projects in the 2021 budget.
In a letter dated 8 May, 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said the misallocation of public funds for duplicated and mysterious projects has seriously undermined the ability of the indicted MDAs, and the government to ensure respect for Nigerians’ human rights through developing and implementing well-thought-out policies, plans, and budgets.
SERAP expressed concerns that the N39.5 billion duplicated and mysterious projects may have been used as a ploy to divert and steal vital resources from MDAs.
The letter read in part, “BudgIT had in a report last week stated that there are 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5 billion in the 2021 budget. The duplicated and mysterious projects are contained in the 2021 appropriation bill of N13.588 trillion signed into law in December 2020.
These damning revelations suggest a grave violation of the public trust, and Nigerians’ rights to education, health, water, sanitation, and clean and satisfactory environment because the indicted MDAs have misallocated public funds at the expense of the people’s access to basic public services, and enjoyment of rights.
“SERAP urges you to ask the heads of the MDAs involved to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with constitutional and international standards of transparency and accountability in the preparation, processes and decisions on their budgets, and to return any misallocated public funds to the public treasury.
Investigating and prosecuting any allegations of mismanagement, diversion and stealing of public funds, would also enable your government to meet Nigeria’s human rights obligations in the way the MDAs under your leadership and supervision allocate, spend and audit the budget.”