The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit to order the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to publicly identify and name Nigerians who have so far benefited from any cash payments, cash transfers, food distribution and other reliefs and palliatives during the lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states because of COVID-19.
A statement by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare says In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/657/2020 filed last week, SERAP is seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to compel Ms Sadia Umar-Farouk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, and Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, to publish spending details of public funds and private sector donations to provide socio-economic benefits to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”
According to the statement, SERAP is also seeking: “a declaration that the failure of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, and the CBN governor to provide SERAP with the requested information on spending details of public money and private donations and to publish names of beneficiaries amount to a fundamental violation of the FoI Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
The organisation explained that the general public has a legitimate interest in ascertaining and scrutinizing the veracity of the claims of how the COVID-19 funds and donations were spent, and to know that the intended beneficiaries actually received any benefits.
“Ms Umar-Farouk and Mr Emefiele also ought to be directed and compelled to make public details of any plan to provide social and economic reliefs to the over 80 million of the country’s poorest and the most vulnerable people, beyond the 11 million targeted by the Federal Government across 35 states.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.