SERAP Drags President Buhari to Court Over N11Trillion Electricity Fund

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project on Sunday, sued Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari for failure to probe allegations of fraud surrounding the N11 trillion reserved for the provision of regular supply of electricity power since 1999.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare in a duly signed statement, decried the state of electricity in the country which has been epileptic due to the constant collapse of the national grid.

“Nigerian cities have repeatedly been plunged into darkness as the electricity grid has reportedly collapsed at least three times in five months, and 130 times in seven years. According to the World Bank, epileptic power supply costs businesses in Nigeria about $29 billion yearly,” the statement read.

The suit, numbered FHC/L/CS/1119/2022 was filed last week at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

Part of it sought “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to investigate how over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply has been allegedly squandered by governments since 1999.”

Further, the suit prayed “an order of mandamus to compel President Buhari to ensure the prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible for the missing electricity fund, as appropriate, and to ensure the tracing and full recovery of any missing public funds.”

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SERAP in the statement, further noted that the lawsuit was filed in the interest of the public to ensure justice and accountability.

Excerpt:

“It is in the public interest to ensure justice and accountability for alleged corruption and mismanagement in the electricity sector, which has resulted in the failure of governments to solve Nigeria’s perennial power problem.

“The staggering amounts of public funds alleged to have been stolen over the years in the sector have had catastrophic effects on the lives of millions of Nigerians, akin to crimes against humanity against the Nigerian people.”

“The failure to trace, find and recover the missing electricity fund is antithetical to the public interest, the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], and the country’s international obligations.”

“Nigerians have for far too long been denied justice and the opportunity to get to the bottom of why they continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector–staying in darkness, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills.”

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“Investigating the allegations of missing N11 trillion electricity funds, prosecuting suspected perpetrators and recovering any missing public funds would end a culture of impunity. It would also address the persistent collapse of the electricity grid, and improve access to and affordability of electricity in the country.”

“Corruption in the electricity sector and the lack of transparency and accountability in the use of public funds to support the operations of DISCOS have resulted in regular blackouts, electricity grid collapse, and unlawful hike in electricity tariffs.”

SERAP also sought for “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to refer to the International Criminal Court all unimplemented reports of corruption in the electricity sector gathering dust on the shelves, and to arrest and surrender those named in the reports to the court for prosecution.”

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN was attached in the lawsuit as Respondent.

The suit was filed by Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms. Adelanke Aremo, SERAP’s lawyers, partly submitted:

“Nigeria has made legally binding commitments under the United Nations Convention against Corruption to ensure accountability in the management of public resources. These commitments ought to be fully upheld and respected.

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“Corruption in the electricity sector has also continued to disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of the population who cannot readily afford expensive generators in order to have a reliable power supply.

“The failure of successive governments and high-ranking government officials to prevent corruption in the electricity sector and to bring suspected perpetrators to justice is the primary cause of the persistent crisis in the electricity sector, including the exploitation of electricity consumers, and collapse of the electricity grid.”


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