SERAP Drags Buhari to Court, Demands Probe of N1.48tn Refineries’ Maintenance Fee

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to court for failing to probe an alleged over N1.48 trillion spent on maintaining the country’s four refineries between 2015 and 2020 which “may have been stolen, mismanaged or diverted into private pockets”.

SERAP alleged that in June 2020, the Buhari-led government spent N10.23 billion on three refineries that processed zero crude. Also in 2021, the government approved $1.5 billion (about N600 billion) to repair the Port Harcourt refinery. 

Despite the huge amount the country parted with, the refineries are still not working while fuel scarcity is on the increase.

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/806/2022 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Buhari to investigate the spending on Nigeria’s refineries, and alleged mismanagement of public funds budgeted for maintaining the refineries since 1999.”

SERAP further demanded that the president prosecute anyone found guilty of importing dirty fuel into the country.

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Adelanke Aremo, read in parts, “Directing and compelling President Buhari to probe allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the money meant to repair the country’s refineries would advance the rights of victims of corruption to restitution, compensation and guarantee of non-repetition.

“Combating the corruption epidemic in the oil sector would alleviate poverty, improve access of Nigerians to basic public goods and services, and enhance the ability of the government to meet its human rights and anti-corruption obligations.”

The statement hinted also “despite the country’s enormous oil wealth, ordinary Nigerians have derived very little benefit from their own natural wealth and resources, primarily because of widespread grand corruption, and the impunity of perpetrators.

“High-ranking public officials, including officers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited suspected of complicity in the allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector, and the importation and distribution of adulterated fuel have continued to enjoy impunity”.

While the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is a respondent in the suit, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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