Farouq, Emefiele, CBN sued over Buhari govt palliatives

Kolawole Oluwadare and Joke Fekumo had filed the suit on behalf of SERAP.
Farouq, Emefiele, CBN sued over Buhari govt palliatives

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has brought a case against the Buhari administration and the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

It wants to publish names of Nigerians who have so far benefited from cash transfers, food distribution, and other reliefs and palliatives due to COVID-19 during the lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states.

In the suit number FHC / ABJ / CS/657/2020, SERAP seeks an order to compel Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to publish details on the spending of public funds and donations from the private sector to provide socio-economic benefits for the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country.

The body is also seeking an order to direct Farouq and Emefiele to publish an up-to-date list of donations and names of those who have made payments pursuant to their publicly reported contributions, expenditure information of the N500 billion COVID-19 intervention fund, and beneficiary names.

Kolawole Oluwadare and Joke Fekumo had filed the suit on behalf of SERAP.

The assumption that the reliefs, funds and contributions do not meet intended beneficiaries will undermine public trust and the credibility of all systems and modes of relief/benefit delivery to those Nigerians.

SERAP indicated that Farouq and Emefiele have a legal duty to ensure information is published on the identities of those that have so far benefited from COVID-19 funds and donations.

The group claimed that Nigerians have a legitimate interest in ascertaining and scrutinizing the veracity of statements about how the COVID-19 funds and donations were spent.

This insisted that, in the absence of citizens' access to knowledge, democracy cannot thrive, no matter how much free debate and discussion is permitted.

SERAP submitted that the principle of disclosure of information in the overarching public interest was reaffirmed globally, including in the Joint Declaration adopted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Speech, the OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media and the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.

No date has been set for the jury hearing.

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