Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has approached a federal high court sitting in Abuja with the request that all governors in Nigeria be ordered to use funds budgeted for security votes, and life pensions for former governors to fund healthcare facilities in order to fight the COVId-19 pandemic.
Also, the group also prayed the court to order governors to publish details of spending on COVID-19 in their respective states.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/757/2020, filed last Friday, by SERAP’s counsels, Kolawole Oluwadare and Atinuke Adejuyigbe, the organisation, in a release on Sunday, sought among others: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and compel the 36 state governors to disclose how much they have individually collected from the Federal Government as COVID-19 support, from private donations and other sources, as well as details of spending of any such funds and donations.
“A declaration that the failure of the 36 state governors to respond in a satisfactory way to SERAP’s requests amount to a fundamental breach of the FoI Act, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended), and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated 25 April 2020, expressing concern that: “many state governors are spending scarce state resources to pay themselves security votes and their predecessors’ life pensions rather than using public funds to effectively respond to COVID-19 by investing in and improving public healthcare facilities in their states.”
However, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.