The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SCRAP) has called on the 36 state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mr. Nyesom Wike, to disclose details of federal allocations meant for local governments in their respective states and the FCT since the return of democracy in 1999. This demand includes details of the actual disbursement of these allocations.
SERAP has also urged them to promptly invite the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the disbursement and spending of these federal allocations since May 1999.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari had highlighted in December 2022 the corrupt practices involved in the disbursement of federal allocations to states, citing that local government chairmen are often shortchanged by state governors.
In a freedom of information request dated January 27, 2024, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation stated that Nigerians have the right to know the details of the disbursement and spending of federal allocations in their states and the FCT.
SERAP has expressed concern that opacity in the amounts of federal allocations disbursed to local governments has negatively impacted citizens’ fundamental interests and the public interest. The organisation requests the governors to take the recommended measures within seven days of receiving the letter, warning of potential legal actions to compel compliance in the public interest.
The organisation emphasises that transparency in the disbursement and spending of federal allocations is crucial to increase accountability, prevent corruption, and build trust in democratic institutions.
SERAP is particularly concerned that years of allegations of corruption and mismanagement of federal allocations for local governments have contributed to widespread poverty and underdevelopment in several states.
According to SERAP, over N40 trillion in federal allocations meant for the 774 local government areas in the country and the FCT has been collected by the 36 states and Abuja. The organisation also notes that former President Buhari recently alleged state governors routinely divert federal allocations meant for local governments.
SERAP urges the governors to provide details of transparency and accountability mechanisms to ensure that the trillions of naira received are not embezzled, misappropriated, or diverted. The organisation references Sections 162(6) and 162(5) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), as well as Section 13, which imposes responsibilities on states to conform to the constitution’s provisions.
SERAP further highlights Nigeria’s commitments under the UN Convention against Corruption to ensure accountability in public resource management and calls for publishing the requested information in the public interest.