Court Orders Past Nigerian Governments To Account For Recovered Loots

Successive governments that have ruled the country since the return of democracy in 1999 have been blamed for breaching the fundamental principles of transparency and accountability following their failure to disclose details about the spending of recovered stolen public funds, including do so on a dedicated website.

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos which reached this submission consequently ordered the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “ensure that his government and the governments of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and former President Goodluck Jonathan account fully for all recovered loot.”

Hon Justice M.B. Idris of the court delivered this judgment on Friday following a Freedom of Information suit no: FHC/IKJ/CS/248/2011 brought by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, dismissing all the objections raised by the Federal Government and upheld SERAP’s arguments.

The details ordered by the court to be disclosed include: information on the total amount of recovered stolen public assets by each government; the amount of recovered stolen public assets spent by each government as well as the objects of such spending and the projects on which such funds were spent.

The court went on to enter judgment in favour of SERAP against the Federal Government thus:
A DECLARATION is hereby made that the failure and/or refusal of the respondents to individually and/or collectively disclose detailed information about the spending of recovered stolen public funds since the return of civil rule in 1999, and to publish widely such information, including on a dedicated website, amounts to a breach of the fundamental principles of transparency and accountability and violates Articles 9, 21 and 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act

A DECLARATION is hereby made that by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the 1st Defendant/Respondent is under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff/Applicant with up to date information on the spending of recovered stolen funds, including:

(a) Detailed information on the total amount of recovered stolen public assets that have so far been recovered by Nigeria
(b) The amount that has been spent from the recovered stolen public assets and the objects of such spending
(c) Details of projects on which recovered stolen public assets were spent

AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS is made directing and or compelling the Defendants/Respondents to provide the Plaintiff/Applicant with up to date information on recovered stolen funds since the return of civilian rule in 1999, including:

(a) Detailed information on the total amount of recovered stolen public assets that have so far been recovered by Nigeria
(b) The amount that has been spent from the recovered stolen public assets and the objects of such spending
(c) Details of projects on which recovered stolen public assets were spent from the will nigeria

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