SERAP asks court to order Buhari, Osinbajo, governors to publish their assets

SERAP asks court to order Buhari, Osinbajo, governors to publish their assets

- SERAP has called for the President, the vice president and the governors of the 36 states across Nigeria to declare their assets

- The call was made by SERAP in a suit filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja against the public office holders including the deputy governors

- According to SERAP, asset declarations are designed to curb grand corruption and weakens the public trust in the asset declaration regimes

The court has been asked to make an order to mandate the President, the vice president and the governors of the 36 states across the country to publish their assets in the public domain.

The request was made in a suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

SERAP in its suit also prayed the court to order deputy governors of the 36 states to make public details of their assets, specifically property and income, contained in their asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since assuming office.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/65/2020 filed last Friday, SERAP is seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel President Buhari, Vice-President Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to make public their summary of assets; disclose whether they have had any reason to review and update their asset declarations submitted to the CCB and if the declarations have been made as constitutionally and statutorily required.”

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated January 3, where it expressed concern that the non-public disclosure by public officials of their summary of assets undermines the effectiveness and integrity of the constitutional and statutory obligations by these public officeholders.

Noting that asset declarations are designed to curb grand corruption, and weakens the public trust in the asset declaration regimes, SERAP said only two states - Lagos state and Niger state - have responded to its FoI requests.

A statement by the SERAP's deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said, however, both states declined the requests to make public the assets of their governors and deputies, on the ground that “the FoI Act is inapplicable to state governments, their agencies and officials, and that only houses of assembly of states are constitutionally empowered to make laws on public records of states.”

Oluwadare said the organisation is also seeking a declaration that the failure of President Buhari, vice president Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to provide the requested information on their assets constitutes a breach of SERAP’s right under the FoI Act, 2011, and such further order(s) the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a court in Abuja had granted SERAP a leave compelling the Code of Conduct Bureau to publish the asset declaration of President Buhari.

The court in its order also mandated the CCB to publish the asset declarations made by all president and governors of Nigeria since 1999.

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Source: Legit

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