The position of SERAP was contained in an open letter dated October 2, 2021 by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
President Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The NCC recently ordered telecom operators to suspend all telecommunications networks in Zamfara State, and at least 13 local government areas of Katsina State purportedly to check banditry/terrorism.
According to the report, “Budget fraud, procurement fraud, embezzlement of funds among other illegal actions, lead to failure in the delivery of services including education, water and health. People living in poor neighbourhoods have suffered so much that they consider poor service delivery as being good enough.”
SERAP is also seeking “an order directing and compelling the Federal Government to explain the rationale for paying N5,000 to 24.3 million poor Nigerians for six months, which translates to five-percent of the country’s budget of N13.6 trillion for 2021.”
The suit followed the grim allegations by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in his 2018 annual audited report that N105,662,350,077.46 of public funds are missing, misappropriated or unaccounted for across 149 MDAs.
SERAP said: “We also urge you to send to the National Assembly a fresh supplementary appropriation bill, which reflects the redirected budget, for its approval.”
This was disclosed on Sunday by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
Joined in the suit, which was made public on Sunday, as Defendant is the National Broadcasting Commission.
The NBC had in a letter dated July 7, 2021 issued a directive asking journalists, television and radio stations in Nigeria to stop “glamourising and giving too many details on the nefarious activities of terrorists and kidnappers” during their daily newspaper reviews.
The request was contained in a suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja by the rights group on Friday.
According to SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization is also seeking an order to compel the president to “explain and clarify whether the $25 billion (N9.7 trillion) overdraft reportedly obtained from the CBN is within the five-per cent limit of the actual revenue of the government for 2020.”
The Complaint followed the move to push through two repressive bills to amend the National Broadcasting Act and Nigeria Press Council Act.
The Federal Government’s objection, read in part: “Particulars: The subject matter of the SERAP suit relates to the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. This is not in any way connected to any Nigerian or SERAP. Individual user’s Twitter accounts are not suspended.”
The ruling followed the suit filed against the government by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians arguing that “the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, criminalization of Nigerians and other people using Twitter have escalated repression of human rights and unlawfully restricted the rights of Nigerians and other people to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.”
The suit followed the order by the National Broadcasting Commission asking TV and radio stations to “suspend the patronage of Twitter immediately”, and telling them to delete “unpatriotic” Twitter, after the social media giant was banned in the country for deleting President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet.
The NBC had reportedly stated that the decision followed the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the Federal Government over purported use of the platform for “activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
The organization asked Ms Scotland to “urgently consider recommending the suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth to the Heads of Government, the Commonwealth Chair-in-office, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth to push the government to take concrete measures to respect and promote the Commonwealth’s values of human rights, transparency, accountability and the rule of law.”
SERAP said: “We urge you to publicly give an assurance that you and your government would end the worsening rule of law crisis, obey court judgments, genuinely combat grand corruption, and address the systematic and egregious violations of Nigerians’ right to life and security in several parts of the country.”
SERAP also urged him to “direct Mrs Ahmed to disclose how the government plans to spend the returned £4.2m Ibori loot, including details of planned capital expenditure, and whether there is any plan to ensure that the money and any future returned Ibori loot would be spent to achieve justice and effective remedies for victims of corruption in Delta State.”