The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has instituted a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over the N26 billion budgetary allocation for meals, travels, sitting allowance, welfare package, and office building.
This was contained in a statement issued by the SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare on Sunday.
The suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1361/2021 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja sought “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to cut the N26bn presidency budget on local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments, and to send a supplementary appropriation bill to the National Assembly to reflect the reduction.”
The organisation also sought “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to publish spending details on the State House Medical Center since May 29, 2015, to date; and to redirect some of the money on travels and meals to improve public healthcare facilities across the country.”
Oluwadare explained that “it is in the public interest to stop the government from spending so much money on these items. Persistent borrowing is neither sustainable nor fair to the Nigerian people.
“The huge spending by the presidency is neither necessary nor in the public interest, especially in the face of the country’s dire economic position, the scant allocations to education and health, and the growing level of borrowing by the Federal Government to fund the 2022 budget.
“Any spending of public funds should stay within the limits of constitutional responsibilities, and oath of office by public officers, as well as comply with Chapter 2 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution [as amended] relating to fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.
“Stopping President Buhari from spending the proposed N26bn on travels and meals would ensure that the government is spending the country’s maximum available resources to respect, protect, and promote the rights to basic needs of the poor and marginalized groups.
“The proposed spending is unsustainable and would take away critical funding to provide access to quality healthcare and education.
“According to reports, the proposed N26bn on travels, meals, refreshments, and the presidential wing of the State House Clinic is more than the proposed allocations for ongoing and new projects in 14 teaching hospitals combined. N19.17 billion is allocated to the following teaching hospitals: UNILAG Teaching Hospital—N1.69bn; ABU Teaching Hospital—N2.38bn; University College Hospital, Ibadan—N1.49bn; and UNN Teaching Hospital—N1.38bn.
“UNIBEN Teaching Hospital—N1.35bn; OAU Teaching Hospital—N1.35bn; UNILORIN Teaching Hospital—N982m; UNIJOS Teaching Hospital—N908m; University of Port Harcourt—N1.14bn; UNIMAID Teaching Hospital—N986m; Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital—N987m; Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital—N2.49bn; UNIABUJA Teaching Hospital—N1.90bn; and ATBU Teaching Hospital—N947m.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
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