SERAP demands detail from 36 govs, Wike on FAAC allocations spending

..Threatens face legal action


Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has under the Freedom of Information, FoI, urged the 36 state governors and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nyesom Wike, to supply it with documents on spending of Federal Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, allocations to the state and the FCT since 1999, till date.

SERAP said it was concerned about the persistent lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of FAAC allocations by the state and the FCT.

SERAP also asked them “to invite Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to jointly track and monitor the spending of FAAC allocations by your state and the FCT and to probe any allegations of corruption linked the allocations.”

SERAP’s requests followed reports that FAAC disbursed N1.123 trillion to the federal, state, and local governments for March 2024 alone and states alone collected N398.689 billion.

In the FoI requests dated April 20, 2024 by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Nigerians ought to know in what manner public funds including FAAC allocations, are spent.”

SERAP letter reads, “Without this information, Nigerians cannot follow the actions of their states and the FCT and they cannot properly fulfill their responsibilities as citizens.”

According to SERAP, “Trillions of FAAC allocations received by Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT have allegedly gone down the drain. The resulting human costs directly threaten the human rights of socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians.”

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The FoI requests, read in part: “Ensuring that the FAAC allocations received by your state and the FCT are spent to achieve the security and welfare of Nigerians are serious and legitimate public interests.

“Secrecy in the spending of FAAC allocations received by your state and the FCT is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations.

“Secrecy in the spending of FAAC allocations received by your state and the FCT also denies Nigerians the right to know how public funds are spent. Transparency in the spending would allow them to retain control over their government.

“The documents should include the evidence and list of specific projects completed with the FAAC allocations collected, the locations of any such projects and completion reports of the projects.

“The documents should also include details of the salaries and pensions paid from the FAAC allocations collected, as well as the details of projects executed on hospitals and schools with the FAAC allocations.

“Despite the increased FAAC allocations to states and FCT, millions of residents in your state and the FCT continue to face extreme poverty and lack access to basic public goods and services.

“Publishing the documents would enable Nigerians to meaningfully engage in the implementation of projects executed with the FAAC allocations collected.

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“The report that some 140 million Nigerians are poor suggests corruption and mismanagement in the spending of trillions of naira in FAAC allocations collected by your state and the FCT.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.

“If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel you and your state and the FCT to comply with our requests in the public interest.

“According to our information, FAAC last week disbursed N1.123 trillion to the federal, state and local governments for March 2024.

“State governments got N398.689 billion while local government councils got N288.688 billion. The mineral-producing states received an additional N90.124 billion (13% of mineral revenue). In February, states collected N336 billion.

“According to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, the federal, states and local governments shared N10.143 trillion from the Federation Account as statutory revenue allocations in 2023, with states collecting N3.585 trillion.

“SERAP also urges you to provide details of the transparency and accountability mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the trillions of naira of FAAC allocations that have been received by your state and the FCT are not embezzled, misappropriated or diverted into private pockets.”

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