Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate ministries, departments, and agencies, and members of the National Assembly suspected to be responsible for inserting N39.5bn for 316 duplicated and projects in the 2021 budget.
In a press statement on Sunday, SERAP’s deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, said the probe would allow the government to use the budget to effectively promote Nigerians’ access to essential public goods and services.
BudgIT had in a report last week stated that there are 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5 billion in the 2021 budget.
The duplicated projects were said to be contained in the 2021 appropriation bill of N13.588 trillion signed into law in December 2020.
The statement read in part, “These damning revelations suggest a grave violation of the public trust, and Nigerians’ rights to education, health, water, sanitation, and clean and satisfactory environment because the indicted MDAs have misallocated public funds at the expense of the people’s access to basic public services, and enjoyment of rights.
“SERAP urges you to ask the heads of the MDAs involved to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with constitutional and international standards of transparency and accountability in the preparation, processes and decisions on their budgets, and to return any misallocated public funds to the public treasury.
“Investigating and prosecuting any allegations of mismanagement, diversion, and stealing of public funds budgeted for the 316 duplicated and mysterious projects would allow your government to use the budget to effectively promote Nigerians’ access to essential public goods and services.
“It would also enable your government to meet Nigeria’s human rights obligations in the way the MDAs under your leadership and supervision allocate, spend and audit the budget.
“Publishing the ‘implementation status’ of the duplicated and mysterious projects would allow Nigerians to hold their government to account in the spending of public funds. This is particularly true for marginalized and excluded groups, such as people living in poverty, women, children, and persons with disabilities, as the budget has a disproportionate impact on their welfare.”