SERAP takes Buhari govt to court for spending N1.48 trillion on non-functional refineries

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari “over his failure to probe allegations that over N1.48 trillion reportedly spent on maintaining Nigeria’s four refineries between 2015 and 2020 may have been mismanaged, stolen or diverted into private pockets.”

The present government under Buhari reportedly spent N10.23 billion in June 2020 on three refineries that processed no crude oil.

Also, in 2021, the Buhari government approved $1.5 billion (almost N600 billion) to repair the Port Harcourt refinery. Despite the spending, the refineries are still not working, while fuel scarcity persists.

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/806/2022 filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, last week, SERAP is seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to investigate the spending on Nigeria’s refineries, and alleged mismanagement of public funds budgeted for maintaining the refineries since 1999.”

The organization is also seeking “an order of mandamus to compel President Buhari to ensure the prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible for the importation and distribution of dirty fuel into Nigeria, and to identify and ensure access to justice and effective remedies to affected victims.”

It argued that, “It is in the public interest to ensure justice and accountability for alleged corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector, which has resulted in the importation and distribution of dirty fuel and protracted fuel scarcity in the country.”

It said that the “Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], and international standards impose clear obligations on the Buhari administration to take effective accountability measures to weed out, expose, and punish allegations of corruption in the oil sector, and to ensure effective remedies for victims.”

SERAP is arguing that “alleged corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector and the importation and distribution of dirty fuel have continued to deprive Nigerians of economic opportunities, subjecting them to cruel and degrading treatment.”

SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to instruct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to jointly track and monitor the spending of public funds to rehabilitate, operate, and maintain Nigeria’s refineries.”

The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Adelanke Aremo.

Joined in the suit as respondent is Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

However, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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