The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Bola Tinubu to publish copies of loan agreements obtained by the administration of past Presidents since the return of democracy in 1999.

SERAP asked Tinubu “to direct appropriate ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to provide our organization with copies of the loan agreements obtained by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari”.

In a statement issued by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, and made available to journalists on Sunday, SERAP said it is seeking “the spending details of any such loans as well as the interests and other payments so far made on the loans”.

SERAP also urged Tinubu “to establish an independent audit on the spending of the loans obtained by the governments of the former presidents, and to make public the findings of any such audit”.

In the Freedom of Information request dated 13 April 2024 and signed by SERAP Oluwadare, SREAP said “publishing copies of the agreements would prevent and combat waste, corruption, mismanagement, and abuse in the spending of public funds”.

“No one should be able to pull curtains of secrecy around decisions on the spending of public funds which can be revealed without injury to the public interest. Democracy requires accountability and accountability requires transparency,” SERAP said.

“Nigerians are entitled to information about what their government is doing in their name. This is part of their right to information,” it said.

SERAP said Nigerians’ right to a democratic governance allows them to appreciably influence the direction of government, and have an opportunity to assess progress and assign blame.

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“The accountability of government to the general public is a hallmark of democratic governance, which Nigeria seeks to achieve.

“Your government should make it possible for citizens to have access to the agreements and spending details to judge whether their government is working for them or not.

“Publishing the agreements would demonstrate your oft-expressed commitment to openness in government and to promote accountability. It would also improve public accountability in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

“Publishing the agreements and spending details would allow the public to see how and on what these governments spent the loans and foster transparency and accountability.

“The information may help to explain why, despite several billions of dollars in loans obtained by successive governments, millions of Nigerians continue to face extreme poverty and lack access to basic public goods and services.

“Providing us with copies of the loan agreements signed by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, and widely publishing the agreements would allow Nigerians to scrutinise it and to demand accountability for the spending of the loans,” it said.

SERAP said it would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter.

“If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest,” it said.