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Group Challenges Buhari, Osinbajo To Declare Assets Publicly

By Ayo BalogunThe Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to swiftly move to declare their assets publicly, consistent with their apparent anti-corruption credentials and their expressed commitments to do so in the best interest of transparency and accountability.

SERAP’s request followed the declaration of assets last week by the President and Vice President to the Code of Conduct Bureau as required by the Constitution.

In a statement on Sunday by SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said that, “we welcome the official declaration of assets by the President and Vice President. This clearly complies with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution as contained in Chapter VI, Section 140. However, the declaration before the Code of Conduct alone falls far short of the commitment to publicly declare their assets.”

SERAP recalls that the President had said before the election that he would publicly declare his assets and liabilities, and encouraged all his appointees to publicly declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment, saying that the body now expected the President to fulfil this promise to the Nigerian people.

The organisation said it trusts that the President and Vice President would move swiftly to publicly declare their assets and to publish widely the information on a dedicated website.

“Public disclosure of assets will give the general public a true picture of the assets of the President and Vice President and will send a powerful message that it is not going to be business as usual with this government. This will also follow the best practice by former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, boost this government’s fight against corruption and impunity of perpetrators, and fully comply with the provisions of chapter two of the dealing with Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, which among others require the government to take steps to eradicate corrupt practices and the abuse of power.

“We believe that public disclosure of assets is crucial for ensuring that public officials’ personal interests, including that of the President and Vice President as the leaders of the nation, do not conflict with their duties and responsibilities. Public disclosure also helps to provide a baseline and thus means for comparison to identify assets that may have been corruptly acquired and that a public official may legitimately be asked to account for.

“We also urge the President to urgently take measures to seek amendment of the law relating to declaration of assets to include the requirement of public disclosure so as to bring it in line with international standards and best practices such as the UN Convention against Corruption,” SERAP said.


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