SERAP Discovers 316 Duplicated Projects In 2021 Budget, Calls For Probe

Yemisi Izuora

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has uncovered plan to duplicate some projects in the 2021 budget.

It has therefore appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to probe what it describes as 316 duplicated projects in the budget.

SERAP made the request known via a statement issued on Sunday, May 9, by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

President Buhari should direct the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to carry out the investigation, the organisation wrote.

SERAP also implored the Minister to also “investigate ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs); and  also members of the National Assembly suspected to be responsible for inserting N39.5bn; for 316 duplicated and mysterious projects in the 2021 budget.”

“Any such investigation should establish whether public funds have been mismanaged; diverted; or stolen in the guise of implementing the duplicated and mysterious projects,” the statement added.

“Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate; if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any stolen public funds should be fully recovered.”

According to SERAP, “the misallocation of public funds for duplicated and mysterious projects has seriously undermined the ability of the indicted MDAs; also noting that the government should ensure respect for Nigerians’ human rights; through developing and implementing well-thought-out policies, plans, as well as budgets.”

It also expressed concern that the N39.5bn duplicated and mysterious projects may have been used as a ploy to divert and steal vital resources from MDAs.

The statement added, “Budget allocations and expenditure ought to be well-suited to ensure access of Nigerians to basic public services; and responsive to the people’s needs in order to prevent corruption or unnecessary or wasteful spending.

“Investigating and prosecuting any allegations of mismanagement, diversion, and stealing of public funds; budgeted for the 316 duplicated and mysterious projects would allow your government to use the budget to effectively promote Nigerians’ access to essential public goods and services.”

“It would also enable your government to meet Nigeria’s human rights obligations; in the way the MDAs under your leadership and supervision allocate, spend and audit the budget.”

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