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SERAP advocates transparency in allocation of LG funds

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has issued a fervent appeal to the 36 state governors in Nigeria and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mr Nyesom Wike, urging them to disclose intricate details regarding federal allocations earmarked for local governments within their jurisdictions.

The organization underscores the critical need for transparent reporting on the actual disbursement of these allocations since the advent of democracy in 1999.

In a recent Freedom of Information (FoI) request dated January 27 and signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization emphasized the intrinsic right of Nigerians to access comprehensive information regarding the disbursement and expenditure of federal allocations across states and the Federal Capital Territory.

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Oluwadare stated, “We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel you and your state and the FCT to comply with our requests in the public interest.”

The call for transparency extends to the prevention of funds from being siphoned into private coffers, fostering public trust that these allocations serve the intended purpose of benefitting residents within the designated local government areas.

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Expressing profound concerns over the detrimental impact of alleged corruption and mismanagement of federal allocations, SERAP highlighted the pervasive consequences including poverty, underdevelopment, and limited access to essential public services across various states.

In SERAP’s words, “Transparency would ensure that the allocations are not diverted into private pockets, and increase public trust that the money would be used to benefit Nigerians resident in these local government areas.”

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The organization further shed light on the staggering sum of over N40 trillion in federal allocations, which the 36 states and the FCT have collectively received for the 774 local government areas and FCT since 1999.

Also, the Federation Account Allocation Committee disbursed N225.21 billion and N258,810,449,711.47 federal allocations to states for local government areas in November and December 2023, respectively.

Highlighting the prevailing opacity surrounding the actual disbursement of federal allocations to local government areas, SERAP referenced former President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent allegations of routine misappropriation by state governors.

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