SERAP writes Buhari, 36 governors on security votes — Nigerian Pilot News
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SERAP writes Buhari, 36 governors on security votes

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has sent Freedom of Information requests to President Muhammadu Buhari and the 36 state governors in Nigeria, requesting them to urgently provide information on specific details of spending of appropriated public funds as security votes between 2011 and 2019.

In the separate requests sent to Buhari and the governors, SERAP said: “Given the current security realities in the country, we need the information to determine if public funds meant to provide security and ensure respect and protection of the rights to life, physical integrity, and liberty of Nigerians have been spent for this purpose. Our request is limited to details of visible, specific security measures and projects executed and do not include spending on intelligence operations.”

In the FOI requests dated 12th April 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. It is the security of the citizens that is intended and not the security of select individuals in public office. SERAP believes that transparency and accountability in the spending of security votes are critically important to fully implement this responsibility imposed on both the federal and state governments.”

SERAP said: “We are concerned that rather than serving the citizens, the appropriation of public funds as security votes over the years would seem to serve high-ranking government officials at all levels—federal and states. We are also concerned that the practice of security votes entrusts discretionary powers to spend huge public funds on certain elected public officials who may not have any idea of operational issues on security matters.

“SERAP believes that there is a strong link between corruption and insecurity, violence, kidnappings and killings in several parts of the country. Available evidence would seem to suggest that many of the tiers of government in Nigeria have used security votes as a conduit for grand corruption rather than spending the funds to improve and enhance national security and ensure full protection of Nigerians’ rights to life, physical integrity, and liberty. In fact, former governor of Kano State Musa Kwankwaso once described security votes as ‘another way of stealing public funds’.”

SERAP therefore urged Mr Buhari and the governors to; disclose including by publishing on a dedicated website, details of spending of public funds appropriated as security votes between 2011 to date, and specific security measures and projects on which such funds have been spent.

Secondly, urgently put in place concrete measures to end the patently unconstitutional, illegal and widespread appropriation of public funds as security votes.

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