The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to commence investigations into the spending on the country’s four refineries, failure of which will make the group launch legal action against the President.
In a letter addressed to the President and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SERAP urged Buhari to direct the appropriate anti-corruption agencies to probe the mismanagement of public funds budgeted for the rehabilitation, operation, and maintenance of the refineries since 1999.
According to the letter signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, the SERAP’s Deputy Director, the group noted that anyone found culpable in the investigations should be prosecuted.
With regards to the current fuel crisis, SERAP urged President Buhari to direct Malami and the anti-corruption agencies to bring to justice anyone found culpable in the importation and distribution of dirty fuel into the country, and to urgently identify and ensure access to justice and effective remedies to affected victims.”
The organisation added: “There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring justice and accountability for alleged corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector and the resulting importation and distribution of dirty fuel and protracted fuel scarcity in the country.
“The importation and distribution of dirty fuel and the current fuel scarcity across the country demonstrate the need for effective accountability measures to weed out, expose, and punish allegations of corruption in the sector, and to ensure justice and effective remedies for victims.
“Allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector have contributed to the importation and distribution of bad fuel, causing environmental problems and violating the human rights of many users, including to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.”
It further noted: “Investigating and prosecuting allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending on the refineries would be entirely consistent with constitutional guarantees and international standards. It may also galvanize public support for your government’s anti-corruption efforts.
“Alleged corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector, the importation and distribution of dirty fuel, and protracted fuel scarcity amount to a fundamental breach of constitutional and international human rights obligations, depriving Nigerians of economic opportunities and subjecting them to cruel and degrading treatment.
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.
“SERAP also urges you to instruct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to jointly track and monitor the spending of public funds to rehabilitate, operate, and maintain the country’s refineries.
“SERAP is concerned that fuel scarcity in several parts of the country has subjected many Nigerians to harsh economic and social conditions, making them incapable of developing their abilities and realising their potential.”