The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to instruct both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to monitor government’s spending on the fight against Boko Haram.
The organization said, “this would ensure that the funds are spent exactly to end the unnecessary loss of lives and other continuing serious violations of human rights in that part of the country.”
In the petition dated 18 February 2014, and signed by SERAP executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization said that it is “seriously concerned about reports that the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima this week stated that “Boko Haram members were better armed and motivated than Nigerian troops.” If true, it suggests that colossal sums of security funds that have so far been budgeted to prosecute the fight against Boko Haram have not achieved value for money. SERAP is concerned that the funds may not have been appropriately spent.”
According to the organization, “If the president is truly determined to end the problem of Boko Haram and the associated human rights violations and sufferings, he should now move to invite the EFCC and ICPC to monitor the spending to fight Boko Haram, including to check leakages in the procurement processes. Otherwise, any such spending will not provide the much needed economic or security benefits, and will merely continue to consume scarce resources needed to address other basic needs of the population.
“Increasing transparency and accountability in the spending on Boko Haram will also help to improve citizens’ confidence in the ability of the government to end the problem. The government cannot continue to use sensitivity or security concerns as an excuse to avoid the urgent need for transparency and accountability in this respect,” the organization also said.
It hopes, “that the involvement of the anticorruption agencies would help to avoid excessive, wasteful and corrupt expenditures and procurement. The National Assembly should also be involved and should be more proactive in exercising its oversight constitutional roles in this respect.”
The organization warned that, “In case the president does not act as recommended, SERAP will explore other legal options under the Freedom of Information Act to improve transparency and accountability in the spending on Boko Haram.”