SERAP Sues Buhari Over Move To Borrow N895bn From Dormant Accounts - IReporteronline
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SERAP Sues Buhari Over Move To Borrow N895bn From Dormant Accounts

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to restrain and stop President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal government from borrowing an estimated N895billion of Nigerians money in the form of their unclaimed dividends and balances in dormant accounts.

The suit followed recent move by the federal government to take over and borrow unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances owned by Nigerians in any bank in the country. However, the same legislation explicitly excludes dormant official bank accounts by all branches of government and their agencies.

Those joined in the suit as defendants are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

In the suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/31/2021 filed last week, SERAP is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining and stopping President Buhari from demanding, taking over, borrowing, and collecting Nigerians’ money in the form of their unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts or transferring the money into a trust fund known as ‘Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund’.

The organisation is arguing that the federal government should not be allowed to borrow Nigerians’ money.

According to SERAP, “Despite Nigeria’s dwindling oil revenue, the growing level of public debt and widespread poverty, public officers, including the president, vice president, governors and their deputies, and members of the National Assembly have refused to cut down their emoluments, allowances and security votes. At the same time, millions of Nigerians continue to bear the brunt of mismanagement and corruption.

“For there to be a borrower, there must be a lender. The intention to enter into such borrower-lender relationship must be known to both parties. Any other arrangement that allows a borrower to access funds from a lender without the knowledge and express consent of the lender will amount to stealing.”

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No Oil Money Again, FG Printed N60bn To Share In March – Obaseki

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo has warned that there would soon be no crude oil revenue for Nigeria to spend, adding that the federal government had to print extra N60 billion for states to share in March.

The governor made this statement on Wednesday during a meeting with the state’s Transition Committee in Benin.

Mr Obaseki noted the Nigerian economy can no longer rely on global oil prices because major oil-producing companies are now investing in alternative sectors, Channels news reported.

The governor further expressed his concern over the habitual borrowing system of the government, he explained that by the end of the year that there would be additional N16 trillion debt owed by the Nigerian government.

He mentioned that the situation may cause a collapse in the economy of the country and the value of naira because there is no way of paying back borrowed loans.

“In another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to Abuja to share every month? Last month, we got FAAC for March. The federal government printed an additional ₦50 to ₦60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he said.

“We say remove subsidy, they say no. This April, next week again, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, the total borrowing is going to be in excess of ₦15 to ₦16 trillion.

“My worry is that we will wake up one day like Argentina, the naira will be ₦1,000, ₦2,000 and will be moving because we don’t have money coming in. You are just borrowing, borrowing and borrowing without any means or idea of how to pay back.”

Speaking further, the governor explained that the people are concerned about the 2023 election while they keep blaming the president for the current state of the nation’s economy.

Also, the governor commended the effort of the Independent National Electoral Committee for adopting technology to bring a change to the voting system in the country so it will be difficult to rig election results.

“INEC itself had also begun its own process of change. They have been worried, scandalised by what happened in Kogi and Bayelsa and were trying to redeem themselves.

“So using technology, they made sure that as soon as you finish voting in the polling unit, that result was uploaded straight into a portal so they can see the pattern which makes it difficult to change results at the collation centers.’’

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JUSUN To Consider NBA’s Proposal To Call Off Strike

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The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has said it would table before its National Executive Committee (NEC) a proposal to reopen federal courts and courts in states that have complied with its financial autonomy demands.

JUSUN spokesman Jimoh Musa, however, warned the proposal, made by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), was likely to split the union, whose members are on an indefinite strike.

According to a statement by NBA Publicity Secretary Dr. Rapulu Nduka, Musa spoke during a JUSUN national officers’ visit to officially communicate the circumstances leading to the Union’s ongoing strike action, as well as to seek the NBA’s support.

JUSUN began a near-nationwide indefinite strike last Monday over the non-implementation of judicial financial autonomy.

NBA 1st Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins, who received the delegation, decried the failure of the State government to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Executive Order, No. 10 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 20, 2020, to enforce the autonomy of State Judiciaries.

He reiterated the NBA’s position as contained in an April 5, 2021 statement, that the timing of the strike action was “rather inauspicious.”

Aikpokpo-Martins pleaded with the union “to consider calling off the strike for its members in the federal judiciary (since the Federal Government has complied with the constitutional provisions on Judicial autonomy), as well as in the states which have given effect to the provisions of the Constitution.”

Responding, Musa expressed JUSUN’s dissatisfaction with the NBA’s “historical apathy to the autonomy of the Judiciary which left the Union with the unfortunate option of shutting down the courts.”

He however expressed the hope that the current administration of NBA President Mr Olumide Akpata will approach things differently.

Musa also bemoaned the failure of the government to enforce its previous undertakings with the union and underscored the union’s resolve not to call off the strike, until all its demands are met.

On the proposition to call off the strike for the federal judiciary, Musa observed that such a step would be a recipe for division within the union, as solidarity was at the core of the struggle.

He, however, promised to table the proposal before the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for consideration. He thereafter sought the support of the NBA in charting a new course for the Judiciary towards ensuring its independence.

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If Democracy Fails, Politicians Should Be Held Responsible – Matawalle

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Worried by the constant terror attacks in the country, the Zamfara State Governor, Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawalle has expressed dissatisfaction over the constant killings and destructions of property by suspected bandits in the country.

Matawalle who spoke through his Director-General, press Affairs, Hon. Yusuf Idris Gusau said that if the situation continues, there will be no indivisible entity called Nigeria.

“I am very surprised to note that at our level of Independence as a nation, we are still wandering in gulf of ignorance and the politicians have more questions to answer,” he lamented.

The Governor, therefore, tasked the federal and state governments to as a matter of urgency create job for the teeming youths in order to reduce criminal activities in the country.

Matawalle noted that most of the crimes in the country are being perpetrated by the youths who have no means of livelihood for many years.

According to him, if democracy fails in Nigeria, politicians should be held responsible because the country is entirely in the hands of politicians now and no longer in the hands of the military.

“Nigeria claims to be the giant of Africa but nothing to show for it. Killings here and there is what we are harvesting now”

It could be recalled that the Governor recently swore with the Holy Quran, that he has no hands in banditry activities in Zamfara State.

He went further to challenge General Aliyu Gusau and senator Ahmed Sani Yarima to come out publicly and swear with the same Quran to clear themselves that they have no hands in banditry activities in the state.

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