Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP), has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to use his leadership position, and the Attorney General of Federation to investigate widespread allegations of mismanagement and corruption surrounding security votes.
In a letter signed by (SERAP) deputy director, Timothy Adewale and sent to President Buhari’s last Friday, the rights group also requested him to use his leadership position to direct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to without delay investigate widespread allegations of corruption in the spending of security votes by several state governors in Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999.
The organisation said, “If there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, for former governors to face prosecution and serving governors to be prosecuted at the expiration of their tenure as governors,” then justice should take its course.
The organization also urged Buhari to “instruct the Attorney General and/or appropriate anti-corruption agencies to publish the report of any such investigation including the names of governors that may have benefited from the public funds, and to ensure the recovery of proceeds of corruption.
“We request that you take this step within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel your government to act in the public interest.”
“Pursuing this matter would ensure that public funds are used properly, and mean state governors would be less likely to misuse or steal security votes, and ultimately improve the ability of state governments to promote, enhance and ensure the security and safety of all Nigerians in their states.”
The organization said, “The lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of security votes is the real cause of many of the security challenges confronting Nigeria. State governments across the country are failing to ensure the safety and security of Nigerians and residents despite huge yearly allocations of security votes to governors. These funds are purportedly appropriated for State security.”
The letter read in part: “However, despite these huge expenditures on security, many state governors are failing to prevent kidnappings, cultism, assassinations and other unlawful killings, maiming of residents and destruction of property.
“SERAP is concerned about the growing allegations of mismanagement, waste, and corrupt practices in the spending of security votes by several state governors. Rather than using security votes to promote, enhance and ensure peace and security in their states, many governors have allegedly used and/or still using it as conduit to divert public funds for private gain.
“Yet, the most general purpose of state power is to provide security for citizens and other residents and to enable them to lead a life that is meaningful to them.
In fact, the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) states clearly in Section 14 (2b) that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”