The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a suit against President Muhammadu Buhari “over his failure to probe allegations that over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply since 1999 may have been stolen, mismanaged or diverted into private pockets.”
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 7 years. According to the World Bank, unstable power supply costs businesses in Nigeria about $29 billion yearly.
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/1119/2022 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is seeking “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.”
SERAP is also seeking “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.”
SERAP argues that, “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 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.
“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 persistent collapse of the electricity grid, and improve access to and affordability of electricity in the country.”
Joined in the suit as respondent is Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Adelanke Aremo, read in part: “Nigeria has made legally binding commitments under the UN Convention against Corruption to ensure accountability in the management of public resources. These commitments ought to be fully upheld and respected.
“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.” (Premium Times)