The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Bola Tinubu over its administration’s “failure to publish spending details of about N400 billion so far saved as a result of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol.”
The suit followed reports that the Nigerian Government saved N400 billion within four weeks following the removal of subsidy on petrol policy.
In the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1514/2023 filed last week at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to publish details of spending of about N400 billion saved as a result of the removal of subsidy on petrol on 29 May, 2023.”
SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to provide details of the plans on how the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol, including specific projects on which the funds would be spent.”
SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to provide details of the mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol are not diverted into private pockets.”
This was disclosed in a statement signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP’s Deputy Director on Sunday.
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “Nigerians have the right to know how the savings are spent. Disclosing the spending details of the savings would reduce the risks of corruption in the spending of the funds.”
SERAP also said, “The Tinubu government has a legal obligation to ensure that the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol are spent solely for the benefit of the 137 million poor Nigerians who are bearing the brunt of the removal.
“Opacity in the spending of the savings from subsidy removal would have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens and the public interest.”
According to SERAP, “the savings from subsidy removal may be embezzled, misappropriated or diverted into private pockets.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare, Ms Adelanke Aremo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke, read in part: “Transparency would increase public trust and confidence that these savings would be used to benefit Nigerians.
“The Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities.
“Prevention of corruption in the spending of savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol and preventing and addressing the challenges caused by the removal are serious and legitimate public interests.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.