SERAP sues Buhari over $25b overdrafts taken from CBN

Written by on July 5, 2021

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and others at the Federal High Court, Abuja, over the $25 billion (N9.7trillion) overdraft obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since May 29, 2015, including the projects on which the overdrafts have been spent and repayments of all overdrafts to date.

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

Joined in the suit, as respondents, are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request to President Buhari, stating: “Disclosing details of overdrafts and repayments would enable Nigerians to hold the government to account for its fiscal management and ensure that public funds are not mismanaged or diverted.”

In the suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/559/2021, filed last week, the organisation is seeking an order of the court directing and compelling Buhari to disclose details of overdrafts taken from the CBN by successive governments between 1999 and 2015 and whether the $25 billion overdraft reportedly obtained from CBN is within the five per cent limit of the actual revenue of the government for 2020.

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Adelanke Aremo, states that transparency and accountability in the spending of CBN overdrafts would also ensure that public funds are properly spent, reduce the level of public debt, and improve the ability of the government to invest in essential public goods and services, such as quality education, healthcare, and clean water.

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