The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the federal lawmakers not to allow President Muhammadu Buhari to sell government properties to fund the 2021 budget.
The statement was issued on Sunday by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
Kolawole urged the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to stop Buhari-led Government from carrying out such move.
In a letter dated January 16, 2021, the group wants the National Assembly to “urgently review the 2021 appropriation legislation to stop the government of President Muhammadu Buhari from selling public properties to fund the 2021 budget, and to identify areas in the budget to cut such as salaries and allowances for members and the Presidency to make sayings to address the growing level of deficit and borrowing.”
SERAP added: “The National Assembly has a constitutional and oversight responsibility to protect valuable public properties and to ensure responsible budget spending. Allowing the government to sell public properties, and to enjoy almost absolute discretion to borrow to fund the 2021 budget would amount to a fundamental breach of constitutional and fiduciary duties.”
The group warned that selling government assets to fund a Budget would be counter productive.
“This would be vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement. It would undermine the social contract with Nigerians, leave the government worse off, and hurt the country in the long run. It is neither necessary nor in the public interest.”
Speaking on loans SERAP, also asked the parliament “to stop assenting to loan requests by the Federal Government if it continues to fail to show transparency and accountability in the spending of the loans it has been granted so far.
“We would consider the option of pursuing legal action to stop the Federal Government from selling public properties, and we may join the National Assembly in any such suit.
“The budget deficit and debt problems threaten Nigerians’ access to essential public goods and services and will hurt future generations. If not urgently addressed, the deficit and debt problems would seriously undermine access to public goods and services for the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people who continue to endure the grimmest of conditions.
“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the country’s international human rights obligations including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Nigeria has ratified both human rights treaties,” the statement added.