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SERAP urges Buhari to probe LGA funds’ diversion

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Anti-corruption advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order a probe into the alleged embezzlement of the monthly allocation to the 774 local government areas in the country.

It called on the President to instruct the Attorney General of the Federation and relevant anti-graft agencies to carry out the probe.

SERAP said its call followed the arrest of 16 local government chairmen in Kwara State for alleged diversion of N100m out of an N4bn loan meant for paying teachers’ salaries and local government pensioners.

In an open letter by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, SERAP said, “Investigating state governors and local government chairmen over allegations of corruption and abuse of power in the use of federal allocations meant to provide public goods and services would best serve the general public interests and welfare.

“Our request is based on the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), the country’s anti-corruption legislation and international obligations, particularly the UN Convention against Corruption. Section 7(6)(a) of the constitution anticipates allocation of public revenue to the 774 local governments in the country. The proposed investigations and prosecution do not offend the constitutional principles of federation in any way, shape or form.

“We request that you take the recommended action within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel your government to act in the public interest”

According to reports, about N20 billion accrued to councils across the country between 2007 and 2012 alone.

“Over N15 trillion of federal allocation meant for provision of public goods and services by councils have been allegedly mismanaged or pocketed by state governments, council chairmen, and the authorities of the Federal Capital Territory in the last 12 years,” it added.

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