New Telegraph

SERAP urges Buhari to trace how trillions of ecological funds are spent

President Muhammadu Buhari has been charged to “direct the Attorney-Generalof theFederation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, AbubakarMalami (SAN), alongside appropriate anti-corruption agencies, to promptly and thoroughly investigate the spending of Ecological Fund by governments at all levels — federal, state and local governments from 2001 to date.”

The charge emerged from a Lagos-based human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) through a statement issued by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, saying: “Suspected perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any missing public funds should be fully recovered.”

The request was sequel to reports that the ravaging floods in most parts of the country has resulted in the lossof over600lives, displacement of more than a million persons, and destruction of properties worth billions.

The most affected states, according to SERAP, include Anambra, Delta, Kogi, Rivers, Benue, Yobe, Cross River and Bayelsa. In an open letter dated October 22 and signed by Oluwadare, SERAP said: “Trillionsof ecologicalfunds have allegedly gone down the drain.

The resulting human costs directly threaten human rights – rights to life and to a place to live – rights thatyourgovernmenthasan obligation to protect. “Although ecological funds are shared across the three tiers of government andemergencymanagement agencies, the funds are managed and supervised by the Federal Government.”

The letter read in part: “Your government has the legal obligations to hold all tiers of government and emergency management agencies to account, and to trace, find, and recover any missing ecological funds.

“Yourgovernmenthasthe legal obligation to address the calamitous consequences of floodingonthehumanrights of millions of people and to prevent and address some of the direct consequences that climate change may heap on human rights, especially given the disproportionate impact on vulnerable people and communities.

“Your government must use all means available to it to prevent and address the threats to human rights that result from climate change, and to provide access to effective remedies for victims when these rights are violated. “We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/orpublication of this letter.

If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest. “To uphold its constitutional and international human rights obligations, your government must respond to the impacts of the flooding and of climate change generally.

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