The Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has revealed that it has filed a lawsuit against the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his failure to probe the alleged missing subsidy removal.
The group in a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare on Sunday, revealed that it filled the lawsuit against President Tinubu over “the failure to probe the allegations that $2.1 billion and N3.1 trillion public funds of oil revenues and budgeted as fuel subsidy payments are missing and unaccounted for between 2016 and 2019,” as documented in the 2016 and 2019 annual reports, by the Accountant General of the federation.
However, the group is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to promptly probe the allegations that USD$2.1 billion and N3.1 trillion public funds are missing and unaccounted for between 2016 and 2019.”
SERAP in the suit number FHC/L/CS/1107/23, filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos, last Friday, also seeks “an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to direct the anti-corruption agencies to promptly probe fuel subsidy payments made by governments since the return of democracy in 1999, name, shame and prosecute the suspected looters, and to recover any proceeds of crimes.”
It also enjoyed the court to compel the President to use any recovered proceeds of crime as palliatives to address the impact of the subsidy removal on poor Nigerians, and to put in place mechanisms for transparency and accountability in the oil sector.
“The allegations that US$2.1 billion and N3.1 trillion of public funds are missing and unaccounted amount to a fundamental breach of national anticorruption laws and the country’s international obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”
“The Tinubu government has constitutional and international legal obligations to get to the bottom of these allegations and ensure accountability for these serious crimes against the Nigerian people,” the group said.
According to the group, compelling the president to carry out the probe, will advance the right of Nigerians to restitution, compensation and guarantee of non-repetition.
“Allegations of corruption in fuel subsidy payments suggest that the poor have rarely benefited from the use and management of the payments,” SERAP said.
However, the suit reads in part, “There will be no economic growth or sustainability without accountability for the human rights crimes,” was filed on behalf of the group by its legal representation; Kolawole Oluwadare, Ms Adelanke Aremo, Ms Valentina Adegoke, and Ayomide Johnson.
However, the actual date for the hearing of the suit, trying to sensitize the people holding public offices that they can be held accountable for whatever happens in their jurisdiction, is yet to be fixed.