Publish loan deals by Obj, Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari, SERAP tells Tinubu

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has under Freedom of Information, FOI, request asked President Bola Tinubu “to direct appropriate ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, to provide our organisation with copies of the loan agreements obtained by the governments of former presidents.”

The former presidents involved are Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.

SERAP is also seeking “the spending details of any such loans as well as the interests and other payments so far made on the loans.”

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

SERAP is also demanded the “establishment of an independent audit on the spending of the loans obtained by the governments of the former presidents, and to make public the findings of any such audit.”

In the FOI request dated April 13, 2024, by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said: “Publishing copies of the agreements would prevent and combat waste, corruption, mismanagement, and abuse in the spending of public funds.”

It said, “No one should be able to pull curtains of secrecy around decisions on the spending of public funds which can be revealed without injury to the public interest. Democracy requires accountability and accountability requires transparency.”

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

According to SERAP, “Nigerians are entitled to information about what their government is doing in their name. This is part of their right to information.”

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The FoI request, read in part: “Nigerians’ right to a democratic governance allows them to appreciably influence the direction of government, and have an opportunity to assess progress and assign blame.

“The accountability of government to the general public is a hallmark of democratic governance, which Nigeria seeks to achieve.

Former President Buhari

“Your government should make it possible for citizens to have access to the agreements and spending details to judge whether their government is working for them or not.

“Publishing the agreements would demonstrate your oft-expressed commitment to openness in government and to promote accountability. It would also improve public accountability in MDAs.

“Publishing the agreements and spending details would allow the public to see how and on what these governments spent the loans and foster transparency and accountability.

“The information may help to explain why, despite several billions of dollars in loans obtained by successive governments, millions of Nigerians continue to face extreme poverty and lack access to basic public goods and services.

“Providing us with copies of the loan agreements signed by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, and widely publishing the agreements would allow Nigerians to scrutinise it and to demand accountability for the spending of the loans.”

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