The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to publish details of spending of about N400bn so far saved as a result of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol.
Meanwhile, SERAP in a letter dated July 1, 2023, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, stated that the President has a legal responsibility to ensure that the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol are spent solely for the benefit of the 137 million poor Nigerians who are bearing the brunt of the removal.
SERAP maintained that Nigerians have the right to know how the savings are spent as publishing the details of the spending of the savings would promote transparency, accountability, and reduce the risks of corruption in the spending of the funds.
The letter, read in part,
, “SERAP is concerned that the savings from subsidy removal may be embezzled, misappropriated or diverted into private pockets.”
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”
“Unless the government is transparent and accountable to Nigerians in how it spends the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol, the removal will continue to undermine the rights of Nigerians, and increase their vulnerability to poverty and social deprivation.”
“Transparency would ensure that the funds saved from the removal of subsidy are not diverted into private pockets, and increase public trust and confidence that these savings would be used to benefit Nigerians.”
“The implementation of the National Social Safety Net Programme and spending on the programme have been mostly shrouded in secrecy.”
“Publishing the details of the spending of the N400bn and other savings from the removal of subsidy would also ensure that persons with public responsibilities are answerable to the people for the performance of their duties including the management of the funds.”
“Transparency and accountability in the spending details of the N400 billion saved as a result of the removal of subsidy on petrol, and on the spending of subsequent savings from the removal would mean that the savings can help poor Nigerians to overcome the effects of such removal.”
“It would also help to avoid a morally repugnant result of double jeopardy on poor and socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians.”
The lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol and the resulting human costs would directly threaten fundamental human rights that your government has an obligation to protect.”
“Your government has the legal obligations to address the effects of subsidy removal on the human rights of 137 million poor Nigerians, and to prevent and address some of the direct consequences that the removal may reap on human rights, especially given the disproportionate impact on these Nigerians.”
“SERAP also urges you to promptly instruct Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to monitor the spending of all savings from subsidy removal.”
“SERAP notes that the removal of subsidy on petrol continues to negatively and disproportionately affect poor Nigerians, undermining their right to an adequate standard of living.”
SERAP also implore the President to “provide details of the plans on how subsequent savings from the removal of petroleum subsidy would be used, including specific projects on which the funds would be spent, and the mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that any such savings are not embezzled, misappropriated, or diverted into private pockets.”
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