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News - North Central - FCT Updated: April 16, 2023

SERAP Tasks President Buhari On Asset Declaration

By Sydney Elike
April 16, 2023
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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has told President Muhammadu Buhari to make use of his vital role as the African Union Anti-Corruption Champion to publicly declare his assets ahead of May 2023 when his tenure ends.

President Buhari was also urged to encourage others like Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and high-ranking officials of the next administration to publish their assets to date.

SERAP cited the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, contained in Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], stating that it mandates all public officers to declare their assets immediately after taking office, at the end of every four years, and at the end of his/her term of office.

The message to the president is contained in a letter dated April 15, 2023, by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

“Publishing your asset declaration form and encouraging other public officials and officials of the next administration to do so would enable Nigerians to scrutinize the assets and worth of public officials before taking office and at the end of their term of office.

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“Those who voluntarily seek or occupy public offices and are catered for by the public have certain fiduciary duties to be open, transparent, and accountable to Nigerians regarding the details of their asset declaration forms”, the letter reads.

“Because asset declaration forms are public documents, public officials cannot claim that publishing their assets would violate their privacy rights.

“There is an overriding public interest in the disclosure of information on the assets of public officers who clearly are trustees of Nigeria’s wealth and resources.

“SERAP urges you to emulate the good example of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who consistently published his asset declaration forms as president and governor of Katsina State.

“He also planned legislative reform to make it mandatory for all public officers to declare their assets publicly. He believed that publishing his assets would put pressure on other public officers to do so.

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“Publishing your asset declaration form and encouraging other public officials and the officials of the next administration to do so would also send a powerful message of your commitment to uphold the country’s constitutional guarantees and international obligations.

“It would also show that you are ready to do what is needed to leave a legacy of transparency and accountability.

“Apart from encouraging other officials and the officials of the next administration to publish their asset declaration forms, publishing your asset declaration form widely would also address allegations that many officials tend to make false declarations in order to cover up assets illegally acquired in corruption or abuse of office.

“According to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, contained in Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], all public officers are to declare their assets.

“The Nigerian Constitution and the anticorruption and human rights treaties show the significant role that asset declaration by public officials plays in promoting transparency, accountability and preventing and combating corruption in the public service.

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“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your actions in taking steps to publish your asset declaration form and to encourage others to do so”, it added.

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Sydney Elike

Sydney is a graduate of Theatre Arts, a writer, a movie buff, an avid reader, a video game enthusias...

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