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Reject FCT Minister Wike’s Plan To Spend N15bn on New VP Residence, SERAP Tells Senate

It said the plan is a breach of the Nigerian Constitution.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on the  Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, to promptly reject the plan by the Minister of the FCT, Nysom Wike, to spend N15 billion for the construction of ‘a befitting residence’ for the Vice President, Mr Kashim Shettima.

 SERAP, in a statement, urged the Senate President to “assert Senate’s authority and constitutional oversight roles to reject the N2.8 billion on publicity for the FCTA and other proposed wasteful and unnecessary spending that may be contained in the 2023 supplementary budget and the 2024 budget proposed by President Bola Tinubu.”

 In the letter dated 2 December 2023 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “The plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president is a fundamental breach of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international anti-corruption and human rights obligations.

 “The Senate has the constitutional duties to ensure that Mr Wike’s proposed spending is entirely consistent and compatible with constitutional provisions, including his oath of office. All public officials remain subject to the rule of law.

 “The National Assembly including the Senate has a constitutional responsibility to address the country’s debt crisis, including by rejecting wasteful and unnecessary spending to satisfy the personal comfort and lifestyles of public officials.

 “The National Assembly cannot continue to fail to fulfil its oversight function. The Senate must assert and demonstrate its independence by checking and rejecting all wasteful and unnecessary spending by the executive.

 “It would be a grave violation of the public trust and constitutional oath of office for the Senate to approve the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president at a time when the Federal Government is set to spend 30% (that is, N8.25 trillion) of the country’s 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion on debt service costs.

“The Federal Government also plans to borrow N7.8 trillion to fund the 2024 budget. Nigeria’s public debt stood at 87.4 trillion naira as of June with 38% owed to external creditors including multilateral and commercial lenders.”

Chuks Okocha