Socioeconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit, asking the court to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to disclose spending details of the overdrafts and loans obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since May 29, 2015.
It is also seeking an order to compel the president to explain to state the projects on which the overdrafts have been spent and repayments of all overdrafts to date, and clarify whether the $25 billion (N9.7 trillion) overdraft reportedly obtained from the CBN is within the five-percent limit of the actual revenue of the government for 2020.
The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information request to President Buhari, stating that: “Disclosing details of overdrafts and repayments would enable Nigerians to hold the government to account for its fiscal management and ensure that public funds are not mismanaged or diverted.”
In the suit, number FHC/ABJ/CS/559/2021, filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is also seeking: “an order directing and compelling President Buhari to disclose details of overdrafts taken from the CBN by successive governments between 1999 and 2015.”
SERAP is arguing that: “Secrecy and the lack of public scrutiny of the details of CBN overdrafts and repayments is antithetical to the public interest, the common good, the country’s international legal obligations, and a fundamental breach of constitutional oath of office.”
Joined in the suit as respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Adelanke Aremo.