The advice was contained in a letter dated November 21, 2020 and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, made available to the media on Sunday.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos last week ruled in favour of SERAP in a suit it brought against Okowa and UBEC.
SERAP and 365 concerned Nigerians are asking the court “for leave to be joined in the suit as parties, and to be heard as of right, as provided for under the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], the Fundamental Rights [Enforcement Procedure] Rules, 2009, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”
SERAP’s petition followed reports that some people have discovered and taken away COVID-19 palliatives stored in warehouses in several states.
Garba, who was earlier involved in an altercation with media guru, Bashorun Dele Momodu, also over the protest, had on Tuesday filed a $1 billion suit against the Twitter CEO at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
SERAP said this in a statement on Tuesday after reports of shooting at the epicentre of the protest in Lagos emerged.
Joined in the suit as Defendants are the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
The organization asked 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 respect the Commonwealth’s values of human rights, transparency, accountability and the rule of law.”
Adetokunbo Mumuni, the Executive Director of SERAP, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday.
The organization said: “The high-profile corruption cases include 103 cases reportedly sent by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] in 2017, and the 15 allegedly missing case files sent by the now defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, [SPIP] in 2019 to Mr Malami.”
The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption headed by Prof. Itse Sagay had last week reportedly raised concerns that “the government is pushing a bill to amend the EFCC Act, 2004, which will demolish the anti-corruption infrastructure of Nigeria, and confer an enormous power of control of the anti-graft agency on the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.”
The suit followed recent public hearings by the National Assembly on corruption allegations in ministries, departments and agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Commission and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund.
The President had in paragraph 78 of his speech to mark the occasion of the Democracy Day on June 12, 2020, stated: “The government has recovered looted funds in excess of N800 billion. These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects.”
The organization is also urging him to “instruct the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, not to implement or enforce the CAMA 2020 until the legislation is repealed by the National Assembly, and brought in line with the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.”
SERAP also asked President Buhari to “instruct Mr Mohammed and the NBC to immediately rescind the fine of N5m imposed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM radio station, following reported comments by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Malafia, during an interview with the station.”
SERAP also urged Malpass to “put pressure on authorities and the 36 state governors to accept voluntary scrutiny by Nigerians and civil society regarding the spending of the funds and use of the resources, including on how they will spend the money to buy medical equipment, and improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.”
Joined as Respondents in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/785/2020 are Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha.
The organization also urged them to “disclose the number and details of public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly that have resulted in any indictment of suspects, and to name such suspects. The reports should be sent to appropriate anti-corruption agencies to consider if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.”
The organization also asked him to “immediately suspend Mr Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and all those implicated in the allegations pending the outcome of any such investigation. Witnesses and whistle-blowers must be protected and the findings of the investigation should be made public. Where there is relevant admissible evidence, suspected perpetrators should be handed over to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for prosecution.”
In the suit, number FHC/ABJ/CS/757/2020, filed last Friday, SERAP is seeking: “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.”