‘Publish your assets within 7 days’, SERAP tells Buhari, Osinbajo, 36 governors

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. Become our exclusive member and help us keep our quality news free and available for all.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent Freedom of Information requests to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies, urging them to use their good offices to: “provide information on summary of the assets, specifically property and income, contained in your asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since your assumption of office.”

SERAP is also asking them to: “clarify within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, if you have had any reason to review and update the asset declarations submitted to the CCB, and to provide the summary of any such review; failing which we will take all appropriate legal action to compel you to comply with our request.”

SERAP said: “The summary of assets to be disclosed include, where applicable, the following: savings and other liquid assets, all immovable property and shares and actions in any private and public companies; property purchased by way of tender from any public-law entities and information about businesses owned.”

In the FoI requests dated 3 January 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the FoI Act, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is part of our laws, read together, impose transparency obligations on all public officials to publicly disclose information concerning their asset declarations submitted to the CCB, and to clarify any updated review of such assets.”

SERAP also said: “The non-public disclosure by public officials of their summary of assets seriously undermines the effectiveness and integrity of the constitutional and statutory obligations to submit asset declarations, especially given that declarations are designed to curb grand corruption. The non-disclosure of assets also undermines the authority of the CCB and weakens the public trust in the asset declaration regimes.”

In the specific FoI request to President Buhari, SERAP noted his “public promise to make specific details of your assets public, and urge you to consider this FoI request as a unique opportunity to fulfil the promise made to the Nigerian people.”

The various FoI requests read in part: “Our FoI request does not clash with the rights to privacy and data protection. Both rights are not absolute and can be restricted provided there is a basis in law and a legitimate public interest justifies the restriction. Prevention of grand corruption and exposing unexplained wealth of officials are serious and legitimate public interests.”

“We would also like you to clarify if you have encouraged members of your cabinet to also submit their asset declarations to the CCB and to make such declarations public. If so, we would like you to provide information on the details of those that have made submissions.”

“We would also like you to clarify whether a declaration has been submitted as constitutionally and statutorily required, the date of any such submission, and if you have received any confirmation of the verification of your asset declaration by the CCB.”

“The general public has a legitimate interest in ascertaining and scrutinising the veracity, exactitude and honesty of information contained in asset declarations submitted by public officials to the CCB. Without public disclosure of summary of assets, this would have no practical importance.”

“Public disclosure of summary of assets submitted to the CCB would help uncover any irregularities and trigger formal verification of declarations by the CCB and other anti-corruption agencies.”

“The information requested is the summary of assets submitted to the CCB pursuant to constitutional and statutory provisions. Providing the information will meet the constitutional objective of giving the public a reasonable picture of your detailed asset declaration lodged with the CCB as well as serve the purpose of providing a safeguard against abuse of the asset declaration process.”

“This would in turn serve as an incentive to public officials to provide exact information when filing and submitting their asset declarations.”

“The advantages that the general public would gain from being informed about the summary of assets declaration submitted to the CCB outweigh any inconvenience that may occur if the information is disclosed, pursuant to our FoI request.”

“We believe that the Nigerian Constitution, the FoI Act and the African Charter grant the right to obtain information on the summary of assets of all public officials occupying a position of trust and discharging public functions.”

“Any perceived claim of interference with the right to privacy are sufficiently foreseeable for the purposes of the legal requirements for asset declarations by public officials, given that public-disclosure of summary of assets would undoubtedly contribute to the legitimate aim of asset declaration regimes to prevent corruption, as it would ensure transparency regarding the details of those assets.”

“SERAP notes that a decision to run for public office is an occasion when people knowingly or intentionally involve themselves in activities which are or may be recorded or reported in a public manner.”

“It is in the nature of the democratic political process that Nigerians may legitimately be interested in the conduct of public officials. The issue of the asset declarations of persons holding public offices is one of legitimate public interest and concern, and serves the purpose of ensuring transparency in the exercise of public functions.”

“By Section 1 (1) of the FoI Act, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the summary of the asset declaration submitted to the CCB.”

“By Section 4 (a) of the FoI Act when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”

Read full article

TODAY NEWS AFRICA
TODAY NEWS AFRICAhttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

MOST POPULAR

Human rights group lists 10 things Burundi’s new government can do to improve human rights

Amnesty International has listed 10 things the new government of Burundi can do to improve the country's human rights.

South Africa radio legend Bob Mabena is dead at 51

President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed his heartfelt condolences on the passing of legendary radio personality Bob Mabena, who passed away this...

MERCILESS: Police looking for someone who set house on fire, killing five members of Senegalese family in Denver, Colorado

The police in the United States are looking for someone or some people who are believed to have set a house...

Nigerian President calls for patience, vows to restore security throughout the nation

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday gave strong assurances that security will be restored to Borno State, the Northeast and the nation at...

Ethiopian Defense Minister Lemma Megerssa, two top officials suspended

Ethiopian Defense Minister Lemma Megerssa and two other top officials have been suspended from the ruling Prosperity Party’s central committee.
- Advertisement -

LATEST STORIES

Nigerian activists urge President Buhari, a former military dictator, to respect human rights, condemn brutal attacks on #RevolutionNow protesters

Nigeria's Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has “strongly condemned reported violent attacks on #RevolutionNow protesters in Abuja, Osogbo and other...

Nigeria-born former Florida State basketball big man Michael Ojo dies of heart attack in Serbia at 27

Nigeria-born former Florida State basketball big man Michael Ojo died of a heart attack in Serbia on Friday. He was only...

Ethiopian Defense Minister Lemma Megerssa, two top officials suspended

Ethiopian Defense Minister Lemma Megerssa and two other top officials have been suspended from the ruling Prosperity Party’s central committee.

Human rights group lists 10 things Burundi’s new government can do to improve human rights

Amnesty International has listed 10 things the new government of Burundi can do to improve the country's human rights.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo mocks former Senator Buruji Kashamu who just died from COVID-19

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has mocked a former Nigerian Senator Buruji Kashamu who died from COVID-19 on Saturday.

[/read_more]

Read full article

error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
Tweet
Share
Reddit
WhatsApp