The Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, to utilize his position in rejecting the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Nysom Wike’s proposal to spend N15 billion on constructing a residence for Vice President Kashim Shettima.
In a letter signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization urged Akpabio to assert the Senate’s authority and constitutional oversight roles. They called for the rejection of the N2.8 billion earmarked for publicity for the FCTA and any other wasteful spending outlined in the 2023 supplementary budget and the 2024 budget proposed by President Bola Tinubu.
SERAP contends that the plan to allocate N15 billion for the vice president’s residence constitutes a fundamental breach of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations. The organization stressed that public officials, including Wike, are subject to the rule of law and the Constitution.
The National Assembly, particularly the Senate, is emphasized as having a constitutional duty to ensure that proposed expenditures align with constitutional provisions and the oath of office taken by public officials. SERAP urged the Senate to address the nation’s debt crisis by rejecting unnecessary spending aimed at satisfying the personal comfort and lifestyles of public officials.
Highlighting concerns over Nigeria’s escalating public debt, which stood at 87.4 trillion naira as of June, with 38% owed to external creditors, SERAP urged the Senate to scrutinize and address the fiscal challenges facing the country.
Additionally, SERAP called on the Senate President to refer allegations of corruption in the spending of the previously approved N7 billion for the construction of a new residence for the vice president to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).