Failure to clarify details of N344.85bn NASS budget: SERAP sues Akpabio, Abbas

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has dragged the Senate President, Mr Godswill Akpabio and Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Tajudeen Abbas over “their failure to disclose, clarify and explain the details of N344.85 billion National Assembly budget, and the rationale for several budget items, such as the N6 billion budgeted for two car parks.”

Akpabio and Abbas are sued for themselves and on behalf of all members of the National Assembly.

In the suit filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio and Mr Abbas to disclose, clarify and explain details of the N344.85 billion National Assembly budget in the Appropriation Act 2024.”

SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio and Mr Abbas to disclose, clarify and explain the details of the N8.5 billion budgeted for ‘National Assembly liabilities’ in the Appropriation Act 2024 and the nature of any such liabilities and how and why they have been incurred.”

Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Tajudeen Abbas

SERAP further wants: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Mr Akpabio and Mr Abbas to disclose, clarify and explain details of the proposed spending of the N3 billion for the ‘Senate Car Park’ and N3 billion for the House of Representatives Car Park in the Appropriation Act 2024.”

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “Details of spending of public funds by the National Assembly have been mostly shrouded in secrecy. Nigerians have the right to know the details of the budget by the lawmakers, and the rationale for the budget.”

SERAP is also arguing that, “Disclosing, clarifying and explaining the details of the proposed spending of the National Assembly budget would allow Nigerians to scrutinise it, and to monitor the spending of the budget to ensure that the money is not mismanaged, diverted or stolen.”

According to SERAP, “Opacity in the spending of the N344.85 billion National Assembly budget would have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens and the public interest.”

SERAP is also arguing that, “The National Assembly ought to be more responsible to the public interest and more responsive to it. The National Assembly has a constitutional responsibility to combat waste and abuse in its own spending if it is to effectively exercise its oversight functions and hold the government to account.”

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