Crime/DefenseNewsPolitics

SERAP wants probe of governors who misuse security votes

By Francis IWUCHUKWU

A call has been directed to President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly and thoroughly investigate allegations of systemic mismanagement of security votes by state governors since 1999.”

The call emanated from a Lagos-based rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, on Saturday.

According to SERAP, “Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any mismanaged public funds should be fully recovered.”

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in his 2022 New Year Message raised concerns about “the persistent insecurity in certain parts of the country,” and promised to “remain resolute in our commitments” to give “utmost attention to the problem.”

In the letter dated January 1, 2022, and signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The most satisfactory and effective way to demonstrate the oft-repeated commitments to address the insecurity in the country is to promptly and thoroughly probe persistent allegations of corruption in the spending of security votes by state governors.

“Probing the spending of security votes and ensuring accountability for any cases of corruption would improve the ability of your government to deliver on the promises to ensure the security of Nigerians, and to keep them safe.”

The letter, read in part, “Ending impunity for allegations of corruption in the spending of security votes and recovering any mismanaged public funds are matters of public interest.

“As revealed by a recent report by Transparency International (TI), most of the funds appropriated as security votes are spent on political activities, mismanaged or simply stolen. It is estimated that security votes add up to over N241.2 billion every year.

“On top of appropriated security votes, state governments also receive millions of dollars yearly as international security assistance.

“Long-standing allegations of corruption and mismanagement of security votes have hugely contributed to the growing insecurity in the country, and the failure of authorities to effectively discharge their constitutional responsibility to ensure the security and welfare of their people.”

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