Tag Archives: west Africa

N800BN Loot: SERAP sues Buhari. [Nigeria]

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over failure to publish details of the N800bn recovered loot.

In a statement issued on Sunday by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group wants the Federal Government to “disclose information and documents relating to the names of people from whom N800 billion in looted public funds have been recovered, specific dates of the recovery, and details of projects on which the money has been spent.”

The group recalled that during the Democracy Day on June 12, President Buhari revealed that his administration has recovered looted funds more than N800billion which were being used for infrastructural projects.

But in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1064/2020 filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP sought for “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel President Buhari to publish a comprehensive list of names of people from whom N800 billion in looted funds have been recovered, the details of spending of the money, and the specific dates of the recovery.”

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Joined in the suit as Respondents are the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

SERAP sues Buhari over ‘failure to publish details of N800bn recovered loot’

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over failure to “disclose information and documents relating to the names of people from whom N800 billion in looted public funds have been recovered, specific dates of the recovery, and details of projects on which the money has been spent.”

The President had in paragraph 78 of his speech to mark the occasion of the Democracy Day on June 12, 2020, stated that: “the government has recovered looted funds in excess of N800 billion. These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects.”

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In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1064/2020 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel President Buhari to publish a comprehensive list of names of people from whom N800 billion in looted funds have been recovered, the details of spending of the money, and the specific dates of the recovery.”

SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to instruct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly, thoroughly and transparently investigate alleged payment of N51 billion of public funds into individual private accounts in 2019.”

Joined in the suit as Respondents are Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “The court ought to compel the Respondents to disclose the details and whereabouts of the public funds. There is no legally justifiable reason why the information should not be made widely available to Nigerians, especially as the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) requires the government in section 15(5) to abolish all forms of corruption. That means ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and wealth.”

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The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request dated 13 June, 2020 to President Buhari, stating that: “The public has a right to know how recovered N800bn loot has been spent, and the details and purpose of the alleged payments of N51bn into individual private accounts. Transparency over transactions by the government is critical to ensuring public confidence in the integrity of management of public resources and wealth.”

SERAP is also arguing that: “Granting the reliefs sought will ensure transparency and accountability, as the information sought to be published will reveal the truth of where money is going and why it is there, and allow Nigerians an opportunity to assess the impacts of any projects carried out with the recovered loot and the alleged payments into individual private accounts.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “As a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Nigeria has committed to ensure transparent management of public resources, and unhindered access to public information. These commitments ought to be fully upheld and respected.”

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“Transparency and accountability in governance is in the public interest. Publishing the details regarding the N800 billion recovered loot and investigating the alleged suspicious payments into personal accounts would be entirely consistent with Nigeria’s international anti-corruption commitments.”

“The authorities are required to set the highest standards of transparency, accountability and probity in the management of these resources and wealth, and the programmes that they oversee.”

“Disclosing the details of projects on which the N800bn recovered loot have been spent and publishing a comprehensive list of names of people from whom they have been recovered, as well as investigating alleged payment of billions of naira into individual private accounts, would be entirely consistent with the oft-expressed anti-corruption commitments by the government.”

It would be recalled that BudgIT, a civic tech organization, recently reported that “the open treasury portal by the federal government allegedly showed that payments totalling N51bn were made into individual accounts in 2019.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Kolawole Oluwadare

SERAP Deputy Director

30/08/2020

Lagos, Nigeria


#Newsworthy…

BBNaija’5: Moment Kiddwaya open up on Love and Money. [Nigeria]

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Big Brother Naija Lockdown housemate, Kiddwaya has opened up on his early childhood and how he was treated growing up.

According to him, he didn’t receive much love from his parents but money.

Kiddwaya added that his billionaire father, Terry Waya was always busy working for money and bringing money home money.

He said he replaced love with money. However, his mother tried to show some motherly love to him. This follows after Erica complained to him that he doesn’t show her love.

In his words;

“I don’t easily get to express my love or how I feel for a lady, I didn’t grow up that way, am probably being so because of how I had lived and grown-up. My dad doesn’t show much love, he is not around to give it so he gives money instead and my mom, well she shows motherly love as supposed, but I think I wanted more love from them.”


#Newsworthy…

W/African leaders on mission to end Mali crisis

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Presidents of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal heading to Bamako in bid to defuse political crisis.


West African leaders are heading to Bamako on a high-stakes mission aimed at defusing Mali’s weeks-long political crisis that has raised concerns of further instability in a country grappling with multiple crises, including an escalating conflict.

The visit on Thursday by the presidents of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal comes days after a mediation mission by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS failed to break the deadlock.

The foreign leaders are expected to meet Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and key figures of the opposition coalition behind the protests, known as the June 5 Movement.

“It will be difficult to rebuff presidents who come to help bring back peace and stability to your country,” said researcher Demba Moussa Dembele, president of the Dakar-based African Forum on Alternatives.

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“The government and the opposition would likely avoid being blamed if the mission were to fail,” Dembele said.

Mobilised by influential Muslim leader Ibrahim Dicko, tens of thousands of opposition protesters have in recent weeks poured onto the streets of Bamako to demand Keita’s resignation.

Although dissatisfaction over the country’s economic woes, corruption and worsening security situation has been simmering for a while, the spark for the current crisis was a decision by the Constitutional Court in April to overturn the results of parliamentary polls for 31 seats, in a move that saw candidates with Keita’s party get re-elected.

The protests turned violent earlier this month when three days of clashes between security forces and protesters left 11 people dead. Several opposition leaders were also briefly detained.

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An ECOWAS mission last week, led by Goodluck Jonathan, former Nigerian president, proposed setting up a government of national unity that would include members of the opposition and civil society groups. It also suggested, among others, the appointment of new judges to the Constitutional Court, which had already been “de facto” dissolved by Keita in a bid to calm unrest.

But the proposals were rejected by the June 5 Movement, with protest leaders insisting that Keita must go and calling for accountability for the killings in the June 10-12 protests.

“The gap is currently wide between the demands of the parties – especially the June 5 Movement and what the government is ready to concede,” said Ousmane Diallo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.

Dembele said forcing Keita to step down could be seen as “unconstitutional”, warning it could result in Mali’s international isolation.

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In recent weeks, a number of Western diplomats and groups have also been meeting opposition leaders and government officials in an attempt to find a solution.

While a level of calmness has now been restored – the June 5 Movement on Tuesday pledged not to call protests for 10 days, until the forthcoming Eid religious festival – “the situation remains tense and could spill over beyond Bamako, to Kati, Gao and Timbuktu”, Diallo said.

“Beyond the possibility of Mali sliding further into crisis if a middle ground between the parties is not found, the credibility of the ECOWAS mediation itself is also at stake.”

Regional leaders are eager to avoid further instability in Mali, a country of some 20 million people that has been plagued by a conflict that began in 2012 and has since spilled into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

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According to the United Nations, attacks grew fivefold between 2016 and 2020, with 4,000 people killed in the three countries last year, up from about 770 in 2016. The fighting has also forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and led to the closure of thousands of schools.

In central Mali, a multitude of armed groups have been jockeying for control while exploiting the poverty of marginalised communities and inflaming tensions between ethnic groups.

The presence of thousands of foreign troops has failed to stem the violence, while allegations of abuses and extrajudicial killings by Malian forces have perpetuated deep-rooted mistrust and enmity in parts of the country with little government presence otherwise.

“The [regional] security concerns are real,” Dembele said.

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“If the crisis lingers on, Mali is likely to descend into chaos, which will affect the morale of the military and weaken its fight against the terrorist groups. In that case, there is a risk that neighbouring countries, like Senegal and Guinea, will be affected, which in turn will affect other countries.”

Diallo said the visit by the five presidents, only days after the ECOWAS mediation mission, showed “how important it is for them to have stability in Bamako”.

“For a long time, Mali was perceived the weak link regarding the insurgency in the Sahel; there is an imperative of preventing the political crisis from impacting very negatively regional security initiatives,” he added.

“The goal is to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.”


#Newsworthy…

Update: EFCC in trouble after countering T.I’s corruption report

... Nigeria, 2nd in West Africa


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been accused of stealing a photo of the eagle in its logo, after it took to Twitter to counter Transparency International on rating Nigeria 146 out of 180 corrupt countries in the world.

Recall that in Transparency International’s latest report, Nigeria ranks 146 out of the 180 countries with a score of 26 and it was also ranked as the 16-most corrupt nation in Africa. in 2019, the West African nation ranked 144 out of 180 nations with a CPI score of 27.

However the EFCC described the recent report as “baseless” and “illogical”. According to the anti-graft agency, the rating is a far cry from the evident strides and achievements so far accomplished in its fight against corruption particularly under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The statement read;

However Nigerian Tech expert, Editi Effiong who reacted to the statement accused the EFCC of not only being corrupt but also stealing the eagle in its logo from the internet.

He tweeted;


#Newsworthy…

Goodbye to ‘Naira Notes’ as Nigeria set to launch new Currency in 2020.


In 2020, Nigeria will be saying bye bye to the Naira as its official currency, as it adopts a new currency called the ‘Eco’.

The ‘Eco’ is a single currency that will be adopted by West African countries as from next year as part of the sub-region’s greater structural reforms.


Here are 7 things you should know about the ‘Eco’ before it is officially adopted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

17 West African countries will adopt the Eco currency when it will be released. These countries are Benin Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The Eco is expected to be adopted on the first of July 2020, but since the concept arose in 2003, the target launch date for the currency has been postponed several times: in 2005, 2010 and 2014. Countries in the franc region and other West African nations such as Nigeria and Ghana, which have their own currencies, have for decades debated creating their own currency, the Eco.


With the adoption of the Eco next year,

French speaking West African countries will ditch the CFA Franc, known as “Colonies Francaises d’Afrique,” which was established in 1945 and pegged to the Euro since 1999.

The official symbol for the Eco will be ‘Ec’.


According to reports, the Eco notes will feature great African legends and showcase features of West Africa.

The official bank for the sub-region’s currency will be known as the Central Bank of West Africa (CBWA).

There is no official value for the Eco currency yet.

A specific launch date for the Eco has not yet been announced but it has been speculated that January 2020 is when the single currency will be launched.


#Newsworthy…

Terrorism is the major threat to West African peace and progress – Buhari.

…Terrorist attacks increased by 80% in 2019

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said that terrorism remained the major threat to the peace and progress of the West African sub-region.

This is even as the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said that attacks in the region rose by 80 per cent in the first 11 months of 2019 compared to the year 2018.

President Buhari, while speaking during the 56th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Abuja, said that recurring attacks by terrorist groups was a reminder to the sub-region about the urgency to build an enduring security partnership to confront and defeat the evil of cross-border terrorism.

The one-day meeting, according to the ECOWAS Commission, was called to deliberate on issues affecting the region, the political situations and the Action Plan for Regional Security and its financing mechanism, among others.

President Buhari added that it was with great shock and immense pain that he received the news last week of the tragedy that took place in the Tillaberi region of the Republic of Niger where over 33 valiant soldiers and other citizens of the country were brutally massacred in yet another cowardly terrorist attack by enemies of peace and progress.

On regional integration, Buhari reinstated Nigeria’s commitment, stressing the need for the sub-region to always channel its energy towards devising new strategies and initiatives that will accelerate the attainment of the regional aspirations for sustainable peace, security, stability and inclusive economic growth.

“To achieve this, we must put our people at the heart of our policies and actions,” he said.

On his part, the President of the Republic of Niger and Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, Issoufou Mahamadou, said that the creation of a common area of peace, security and economic integration, is the key to the future of the region.

Mahamadou noted that the region had been hard hit by terrorist attacks which were intensified with every passing day, threatening the many national and regional achievements the region had made.

“We, therefore, hope that the prompt implementation of the recommendations of our extraordinary summit on terrorism held on 14th September, 2019, will enable us to collectively meet this challenge which appears to be an attack by faithless criminals on our dignity and sovereignty,” Mahamadou said.

Also speaking, Brou said it was clear that the recent terrorist attacks in the region and the thought of the many civilian and military victims would only strengthen the region’s resolve to collectively and effectively fight to eradicate the scourge.

“In the first 11 months of 2019, terrorist attacks increased by almost 80 per cent, compared to the same period in 2018 and caused more than 1,800 civilian and military casualties. This situation has led to a humanitarian crisis with the displacement of nearly 2.8 million people and the closure of hundreds of schools,” Brou said.

In his remarks, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, said that the time calls for all to stand together, as well as summon the best values in overcoming the canker that threatens the entire sub-region.

Chambas also said that to definitively defeat and eradicate terrorism, there was need to complement the military and security approaches with developmental approaches that address the root causes of the scourge.

In his presentation, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said the AfDB would support the region in tackling its challenges.

“I applaud the Heads of State and Governments for their leadership to mobilize $1 billion to ensure the region’s security. When leaders decide, things happen. The African Development Bank will be ready to help ECOWAS on this fund, especially to help structure how this fund can be securitized,” he said.

#Newsworthy…