A human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has sued the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, over the claim that lawmakers have pocketed nothing less than N500bn as running costs in the last 10 years.
SERAP filed separate suits against Saraki and Dogara at the Federal High Court in Lagos last Friday based on a series of allegations of corruption levelled against the National Assembly by the sacked Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin.
The Executive Director of SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, said in a statement on Monday that the organisation resorted to suing the Senate President and the House Speaker following their refusal to respond to two letters demanding their responses to Jibrin’s allegation that lawmakers diverted N500bn tagged ‘running cost’ between 2006 and 2016.
Mumuni said Saraki and Dogara also shunned SERAP’s request that they should disclose the monthly income of each lawmaker following the claim by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that a lawmaker goes home with nothing less than between N10m and N15m per month.
Among other reliefs, SERAP wants the court to issue a mandamus order compelling Saraki and Dogara to give account of how the lawmakers spent N500bn running cost, which was part of the N1tn budgetary allocation to the National Assembly between 2006 and 2016.
The plaintiff wants the court to compel Saraki and Dogara to show the projects executed with the allegedly diverted N500bn.
SERAP also wants the court to compel Saraki and Dogara to make public the monthly income of each lawmaker.
It argued that the refusal of the Senate President and the House Speaker to supply the requested information was a violation of Articles 9, 21 and 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, which guaranteed the fundamental principles of transparency and accountability.
SERAP wants the court to hold that Saraki and Dogara were obliged to supply the requested information by virtue of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.