A human rights group — the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) — says it has petitioned the United Nations (UN) over the budget padding scandal rocking Nigeria’s House of Representatives.
SERAP said in a statement by its Executive Director, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni in Lagos on Wednesday that the world body should wade into the matter.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that SERAP sent a petition dated July 27 to Prof. Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.
The petition urged Alston to “use your good offices and position to urgently request the leadership of the House of Representatives of Nigeria to explain the alleged deliberate padding of the 2016 budget to the tune of N481 billion.
“Removal of critical projects and replacement of such projects with constituency projects, which have not only undermined the fight against corruption in the country, but also exacerbated extreme poverty and violations of internationally recognized human rights.
“SERAP is seriously concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability of the National Assembly which is not consistent with the behaviour of an institution that is constitutionally mandated to make laws for the nation.
“SERAP is concerned that the long standing practice of constituency projects by the National Assembly of Nigeria and the corresponding alleged diversion of public funds have continued to systematically drained the country’s maximum available resources.
“Alleged budget padding and abuse of office by the leadership of the House of Representatives in particular and the National Assembly in general has uneven consequences on the vulnerable groups of the society, including the poor, women and children, perpetrating and institutionalizing discrimination.”
SERAP urged the Special Rapporteur to put pressure on the leadership of the House of Representatives to allow for independent and transparent investigation of the allegations of budget padding, diversion of public funds and abuse of office.
It warned the leadership of the House not to victimise Rep. Abdulmumin Jubrin for blowing the whistle on the allegations of corruption in the House.