SERAP Calls for Transparency in State Loan Spending

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called upon Nigeria’s 36 state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nyesom Wike, to demonstrate transparency by publishing details of loans totaling N5.9 trillion and $4.6 billion obtained by their states and the FCT. This includes disclosing information about the projects executed with these loans.

SERAP emphasized the need for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the spending of both domestic and external loans.

The organization’s request comes after Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani revealed that the past administration of Nasir El-Rufai left behind $587 million in debt and 115 contractual liabilities, making it challenging for the state to meet its financial obligations.

In a Freedom of Information request dated March 30, 2024, and signed by SERAP’s deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization highlighted the public interest in knowing how these loans are being utilized. SERAP stressed that Nigerians have the right to demand accountability regarding the use of public funds.

The organization expressed concern over reports of mismanagement of public funds by several states, which has resulted in delayed salary payments and limited access to essential services for many Nigerians. SERAP believes that transparency in the spending of loans would enhance accountability, prevent corruption, and build trust in democratic institutions.

SERAP urged the state governors and the FCT Minister to take the recommended actions within seven days. Failure to comply would result in SERAP taking legal action to ensure compliance in the public interest.

The organization emphasized that transparency and accountability in loan spending are crucial to reducing vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement. SERAP believes that providing details of loan agreements and spending would enable meaningful public engagement in the management of these funds and promote democratic principles.

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