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SERAP gives 36 governors, FCT ultimatum to publish details of loan agreements, expenditure

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The 36 states governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, have been given a one-week ultimatum by the Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project to provide the loan agreements and spending details of the loans obtained by their states and the FCT.

A statement issued on Sunday by the organisation’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, explained that details and locations of projects executed with the loans that amount to N5.9 trillion and $4.6 billion are to be included.

It urged the state governors and the FCT minister to widely publish copies of its requests as it would help keep Nigerians in the know of how their states’ governments spent their loans, and also ensure that persons with public responsibilities are answerable to the people for the performance of their duties in the management of public funds.

SERAP also urged them to promptly invite the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the spending of the domestic and external loans obtained by their state and the FCT.

The statement noted that its request followed the disclosure made by Governor Sani, on Saturday, when he lamented the huge debt inherited from his predecessor, Nasir El-Rufai, on May 29, 2023, saying that the state is now left with a few amounts, not enough to pay salaries, as his administration inherited a total of $587m, N85bn and 115 contract liabilities from the ex-governor.

The organisation said the Freedom of Information requests dated March 30, 2024, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, were in the public interest.

It added, “Widely publishing copies of the loan agreements and spending details of the loans obtained would ensure that persons with public responsibilities are answerable to the people for the performance of their duties in the management of public funds.”

”The FoI requested that it would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter, stressing that if they have not heard from them by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel them and their state to comply with their request in the public interest.

The group said it was concerned that many of the country’s 36 states and FCT are allegedly mismanaging public funds that may include domestic and external loans obtained from bilateral and multilateral institutions and agencies, saying that according to Nigeria’s Debt Management Office, the total public domestic debt portfolio for the country’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is N5.9 trillion while the total public external debt portfolio is $4.6 billion.

The statement observed that many states and the FCT reportedly owe civil servants’ salaries and pensions, while several states are borrowing to pay salaries with millions of Nigerians resident in your state and the FCT continues to be denied access to basic public goods and services such as quality education and healthcare.




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