The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Bola Tinubu at the Federal High Court over the failure to publish spending details of money saved from fuel subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popularly called petrol.
SERAP said the litigation followed reports that the Federal Government had saved N400bn within the four weeks of the implementation of the removal of subsidy on petrol policy.
A statement issued on Sunday in Lagos by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadareand and made available to DAILY POST, said the organization is seeking “an order of the court to direct and compel Tinubu to publish details of spending of about N400 billion saved as a result of the removal of subsidy on petrol on from May 29, 2023.”
SERAP is arguing that “the government has a legal obligation to ensure that the savings from the removal of subsidy are spent for the benefits of poor Nigerians who it said are bearing the brunt of the removal.”
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1514/2023 filed last week at the Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to provide details of the plans on how the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol, including specific projects on which the funds would be spent.”
“An order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to provide details of the mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol are not diverted into private pockets.”
In the suit, SERAP explained that “Nigerians have the right to know how the savings are spent. Disclosing the spending details of the savings would reduce the risks of corruption in the spending of the funds.”
“The Tinubu government has a legal obligation to ensure that the savings from the removal of subsidy on petrol are spent solely for the benefit of the 137 million poor Nigerians who are bearing the brunt of the removal.”
The suit which was filed by Kolawole Oluwadare, Ms Adelanke Aremo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke, on behalf of SERAP is arguing that the “Opacity in the spending of the savings from subsidy removal would have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of the citizens and the public interest.”
It said the action was brought to the court under the Freedom of Information Act, Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
”The Tinubu government has a legal obligation to protect individuals against the threat posed to human rights by the removal of subsidy on petrol and to effectively address the aftermath of subsidy removal,” the group added.