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Court orders Buhari minister to account for N729 billion payment to poor Nigerians

The Federal Excessive Court docket in Lagos has ordered former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Catastrophe Administration and Social Growth, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, to ​​account for funds of N729 billion to 24.3 million poor Nigerians over six months.

The court docket additionally ordered the previous minister to supply a listing and particulars of the beneficiaries who obtained the funds, the variety of states lined beneath the scheme and the funds per state.

The decision was delivered in June by Justice Deinde Isaac Dipeolu following a Freedom of Data Act lawsuit quantity: FHC/L/CS/853/2021, filed by the Socio-Financial Rights and Accountability Mission.

The licensed copy of the judgment was obtained by the group final Friday.

In his judgment, Justice Dipeolu held that “the previous Minister is required by the provisions of the Freedom of Data Act to supply info to any particular person together with SERAP. I subsequently grant an order imposing a route directing and compelling the Minister to supply the expenditure particulars of N729 billion to 24.3 million poor Nigerians in 2021.”

Justice Dipeolu ordered the minister to “present SERAP with particulars on how the beneficiaries had been chosen and the mechanisms for funds to the beneficiaries.”

The decide additionally ordered the minister to “clarify the reasoning behind paying N5,000 to 24.3 million poor Nigerians, representing 5 % of Nigeria’s N13.6 trillion finances for 2021.”

She held that “the Minister failed to supply any purpose for refusing to reveal the main points requested by SERAP. SERAP has listed the related sections of the Freedom of Data Act 2011 which the Minister has breached and, in accordance with sections 20 and 25(1) of the Act, has utilized to this Court docket for an order of mandamus to direct and compel the Minister to supply the data requested.”

Choose Dipeolu rejected the objections of the Minister's counsel and upheld SERAP's arguments.

The court docket subsequently dominated in favour of SERAP and in opposition to the minister.

Reacting to the ruling, SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare mentioned the ruling was a victory for transparency and accountability within the expenditure of public funds.

He mentioned: “This groundbreaking judgment is a victory for transparency and accountability within the spending of public cash.

“Justice Dipeolu’s judgment demonstrates the pressing want for the Tinubu authorities to successfully tackle the systemic allegations of corruption within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Catastrophe Administration and Social Growth and different ministries, departments and companies as documented by the Accountant-Common of the Federation.

“We commend Justice Dipeolu for her braveness and knowledge and urge President Bola Tinubu to instantly adjust to the court docket orders.”

Within the letter dated July 6, 2024, despatched to President Bola Tinubu concerning the judgment and signed by the Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group requested him to direct the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Catastrophe Administration and Social Growth and the Workplace of the Lawyer Common of the Federation to instantly course of the judgment.

The organisation has additionally requested the President to make public the expenditure of the 729 billion naira as ordered by the court docket.

It reads: “We urge you to show your robust dedication to the rule of regulation by instantly complying with and respecting the court docket's judgment.

“We urge you to direct the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Catastrophe Administration and Social Growth and the Workplace of the Lawyer Common of the Federation to instantly accumulate and launch the main points of the expenditure of the N729 billion as ordered by the court docket.

“The rapid enforcement and implementation of the judgment by your authorities will probably be a victory for the rule of regulation, transparency and accountability within the processes of governance and the administration of public funds, together with the N729 billion.”

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