SERAP to court: Order FG to name beneficiaries of all COVID-19 intervention funds

SERAP, COVID-19 intervention funds

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court, Abuja to order the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to publish names of beneficiaries of money transfers, meals distribution and different reliefs in the course of the lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

The swimsuit adopted SERAP’s Freedom of Information, FOI, requests dated April 4, 2020, expressing concern that: “millions of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people have not benefited from the announced palliatives, donations, reported cash payments, cash transfers and other reliefs.”

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In the swimsuit quantity FHC/ABJ/CS/657/2020 filed  by SERAP via its counsels, Kolawole Oluwadare and Joke Fekumo, and made obtainable to media on Sunday, the organisation sought “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to compel Ms Sadia Umar-Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, and Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, to publish spending details of public funds and private sector donations to provide socio-economic benefits to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

It additionally sought amongst others, “an order to direct and compel Ms Umar-Farouk and Mr Emefiele to publish an up-to-date listing of donations and names of those that have made funds as per their publicly introduced donations; spending particulars of the N500 billion COVID-19 intervention fund, and the names of beneficiaries, and whether or not such beneficiaries embody folks residing with disabilities (PWDs).

“A declaration that the failure of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, and the CBN governor to provide SERAP with the requested information on spending details of public money and private donations and to publish names of beneficiaries amount to a fundamental violation of the FoI Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

The swimsuit filed learn partially: “By a mixed studying of the FoI Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ms Umar-Farouk and Mr Emefiele should be directed and compelled to make public particulars of those who have benefited from COVID-19 funds and donations.

“Any perception that the reliefs, funds and donations are not reaching intended beneficiaries would undermine public trust and the integrity of the entire processes and modes of distribution of reliefs/benefits to these Nigerians.”

SERAP maintained that it and certainly most of the people have a official curiosity in ascertaining and scrutinizing the veracity of the claims of how the funds and donations have been spent, and to know that the supposed beneficiaries really obtained any advantages.

It continued, “Ms Umar-Farouk and Mr Emefiele additionally should be directed and compelled to make public particulars of any plan to offer social and financial reliefs to the over 80 million of the nation’s poorest and essentially the most weak folks, past the 11 million focused by the Federal Government throughout 35 states.

“Democracy can’t flourish within the absence of residents’ entry to info, irrespective of how a lot open dialogue and debate is allowed. This swimsuit would guarantee transparency and accountability within the spending of COVID-19 cash and donations.

“SERAP submits that the principle of disclosure of information in the overriding public interest has been internationally reaffirmed, including in the Joint Declaration adopted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.”

“The Joint Declaration states that the suitable of entry to info ought to be topic to a slim, rigorously tailor-made system of exceptions.





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Meantime, no date has been mounted for the listening to of the swimsuit.

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SERAP to court: Order FG to name beneficiaries of all COVID-19 intervention funds

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