Nigerian Government Sued over Failure to Publish Loan Spending Details

Date:

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has initiated a lawsuit against President Bola Tinubu’s administration for failing to disclose the spending details of loans obtained by previous Nigerian governments. The lawsuit targets the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, and the Debt Management Office (DMO).

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Filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos under suit number FHC/L/CS/353/2024, SERAP is demanding that the court compel the Tinubu government to release the loan agreements secured by the administrations of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and Muhammadu Buhari.

Key Demands and Arguments

SERAP is also requesting the publication of the detailed spending of these loans, including interest payments and other associated costs. The organization argues that transparency in the handling of public funds is crucial for democracy and public accountability. They contend that citizens have the right to access this information to assess the government’s performance and ensure it is working in their best interest.

SERAP’s Statement

In the lawsuit, SERAP stated: “No one should be able to pull curtains of secrecy around decisions on the spending of public funds which can be revealed without injury to the public interest. Democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.”

SERAP further emphasized that understanding how these loans were spent could explain why millions of Nigerians remain in extreme poverty despite the country incurring billions of dollars in debt. They argue that this transparency is necessary for citizens to influence governmental direction and hold officials accountable.

Background and Financial Context

According to SERAP, Nigeria’s Debt Management Office reported that the country’s total public domestic debt portfolio stands at N97.3 trillion ($108 billion), with the Federal Government’s debt at N87.3 trillion ($97 billion). In recent years, Nigeria has paid substantial amounts in interest on these loans—$6.2 billion in 2019, $6.5 billion in 2018, $5 billion in 2017, and $4.4 billion in 2016.

SERAP alleges that a significant portion of these loans might have been mismanaged or misappropriated, underscoring the need for transparency and accountability.

Legal and Constitutional Grounds

SERAP’s case is grounded in various legal frameworks that guarantee the right to information, including 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. These laws collectively impose transparency obligations on the government, compelling it to disclose details of the loan agreements and expenditures.

No Hearing Date Set

As of now, no date has been scheduled for the hearing of the lawsuit. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for governmental transparency and accountability in Nigeria, potentially setting a precedent for future administrations.

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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