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SERAP sues 36 governors, FCT minister over FAAC allocations

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has sued Nigeria’s 36 governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,Nyesom Wike.

They were sued for failing “to account for the spending of trillions of Federation Account Allocation Committee allocations collected by their states and the FCT since 1999″.

This was contained in a release on Sunday by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

The release said the lawsuit followed reports that the FAAC disbursed N1.123 trillion to federal, state, and local governments for March 2024. They shared N1.208 trillion in April. States collected N398.689 billion in March while they collected N403.403 billion in April.

In the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/666/2024 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP asked the court to “direct and compel the governors and Wike to publish spending details of the FAAC allocations collected by their states and the FCT since 1999 including the list and locations of projects executed with the money.”

The organisation also asked the court to “compel the governors and Mr Wike to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to probe any allegations of corruption linked to the allocations and to monitor how the money is spent”.

It argued that, “Nigerians ought to know in what manner public funds including FAAC allocations, are spent by the governors and FCT minister.”

“Opacity in the spending of the FAAC allocations collected by the governors and Mr Wike would continue to have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens,” SERAP said.

It noted that trillions of FAAC allocations received by Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT have allegedly gone down the drain.

It believes that, “Directing and compelling the governors and FCT minister to provide the information sought and widely publish the spending details of the FAAC allocations collected by them would serve legitimate public interests.”

It added, “The failure by the governors and the FCT ministers to account for the spending of the FAAC allocations collected by them is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international anti-corruption obligations.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Kehinde Oyewumi and Andrew Nwankwo, read in part, “States and the FCT should be guided by transparency and accountability principles and proactively account for the spending of the FAAC allocations collected by them.

“Secrecy in the spending of FAAC allocations collected by the governors and the FCT minister 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 governors and FCT minister have a legal obligation to provide the information sought including the list of specific projects completed with the FAAC allocations collected, the locations of any such projects and completion reports of the projects.

“The information sought 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 several states and the FCT continue to face extreme poverty and lack access to basic public goods and services”

It added, “The reported removal of petrol subsidy and the floating of the exchange rate by the Federal Government has translated into increased FAAC allocations to states and the FCT. However, there is no corresponding improvement in the security and welfare of millions of Nigerians.

“FAAC allocations received by the states and the FCT are reportedly characterised by mismanagement, diversion of funds, and abandoned projects. FAAC allocations have also been allegedly spent for other purposes such as election campaigns and political patronage.

“Publishing the documents on the spending of FAAC allocations by the states and the FCT would promote transparency, accountability, and reduce the risks of corruption in the spending of the funds.

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

SERAP noted that 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 the states and the FCT”.

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Adeleke bags fellowship award on infrastructure devt

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Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun has bagged the fellowship award of a socio-cultural group, Ede Unique Club of Nigeria, in recognition of the various infrastructural development projects embarked upon since his assumption of office.

Spokesperson for the organisation, Prince Wale Ojetimi, said in a statement on Tuesday in Osogbo that the investiture of the fellowship award would hold in Ede on Thursday, as part of the organisation’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Ojetimi said that the award was a testimonial to Adeleke’s personal achievements and his progeny’s remarkable contributions to the socio-economic and political development of Osun and Nigeria at large.

He said that the governor would also perform the inauguration of the N5.5 million solar-powered facility donated by the club to the State Hospital in Ede.

The spokesperson said that the solar-powered facility was part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility component of its 40th anniversary.

He said that the event, to be presided over by the Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Lawal, will feature an anniversary lecture to be delivered by a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Prof. Mojeed Alabi.

According to him, among the prominent individuals to receive special recognition awards at the event is a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Wale Abass.

 Abass recently retired from Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as AIG after 35 years of service to the country.

The club is a non-partisan, socio-cultural organisation of leaders in business, academia, the professions and public service who have excelled in their various chosen fields and are contributing positively to the society, both in Nigeria and the Diaspora.

The organisation, established in 1983, engages in human capital and social development, focusing particularly on development of young people.

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Sallah: No security breaches in Ebonyi — NSCDC

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Tuesday, said so far there has not been any security breach as Ebonyi residents join other Nigerians to celebrate Eid-el Fitri.

The State Commandant of the corps, Dr Elijah Willie, said in Abakalikii that the celebration in the state has been peaceful.

Willie said he was monitoring operations of his personnel deployed across the state especially at security flashpoints.

“We deployed over 700 personnel across the state to ensure maximum security during the celebration.

“We are maintaining the same security deployment used during the sit-at-home directive of an outlawed group in the south east zone, on May 30.

“We are working in synergy with relevant security agencies  to ensure that there are no security breaches across the state,” he said.

He urged the citizens to continue being law-abiding and provide security agencies with relevant information to combat crime.

“I advise criminals to repent or leave the state as the NSCDC and other security agencies would make life very uncomfortable for them.

“The citizens should see security agencies as their friends because protecting their lives and properties is our business,” he said.

He thanked Gov. Francis Nwifuru for his support to security agencies in the state which, he said had made their work easier and more efficient.

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Enugu residents turn to charcoal stove as kerosene price soars

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Some Enugu residents have jettisoned their kerosene stoves, opting for charcoal stoves instead due to the high cost of kerosene which currently sells for between N1,350 and N1,600 per litre.

A market survey on charcoal on Tuesday in Enugu, revealedthat many people now prefer charcoal for cooking due to its affordable price.

A charcoal seller in Garki Market, Grace Umeh, said that although the price of charcoal had risen from N5, 000 to N8,000 per sack; the patronage had continued to soar.

Umeh said the increase in patronage was because an average family of five could use up to 20 litres of kerosene in a month for their cooking.

“So, the family spends over N20, 000 on kerosene in a month.

“On the other hand, a bag of charcoal will last for two months, no matter the pressure of use, for the same size of family,’’ she said.

Another seller at Mayor Market, ObyOkafor, said that most families were buying the commodity in large quantities due to the high cost of kerosene and other energy sources.

“We have continued to experience good and profitable business for some time now in this charcoal business,” Okafor said.

Mrs Christiana Ozor, a charcoal dealer at Achara Layout, said that due to increase in patronage, she now sells more than two bags a day.

Some buyers said that using the charcoal for cooking had saved them a lot of money.

Mr Gilbert Nnamdi, a father of four, said the new charcoal stove introduced to him by his friend had helped him to reduce the amount he spent on kerosene.

“With only N200 charcoal my wife can cook a pot of soup and a pot of rice for the family no matter the quantity of the food.

“This new charcoal stove does not take time to catch fire and does not bring out smoke while cooking with it,” he said.

Another charcoal user, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that she had been using charcoal since the increase in the price of kerosene.

“I stopped using kerosene when the price increased to N900 and because I am afraid of using cooking gas, I quickly opted for charcoal as a means of energy cooking source,” she said.

Food vendors are not left out in the rush for charcoal because they can no longer afford the prices of kerosene and cooking gas.

A restaurant owner, MsIjeoma Dim, explained that the high costs of kerosene and cooking gas had given charcoal a sudden prominence.

MrOforAnyawu, added that charcoal sellers now made brisk business due to the price increase of other cooking energy sources.

Anyawu called on the government to make all cooking energy sources affordable and available for the masses, especially in the face of economic challenges in the country.

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