SERAP urges Senate to stop Wike from spending N15b on new residence for VP

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Abuja, Dec. 3, 2023 – The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate to reject plans by the FCTA to build a new residence for the vice president at a cost of N15 billion.

The Minister of FCT, Nyesom Wike, announced the plan on Wednesday when he appeared before a committee of the House of Representatives to defend the N61.5 billion 2023 supplementary budget of the FCTA.

He said a new residence for the vice president was approved in 2010 by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the cost of N7 billion, but abandoned.

Wike said that N5 billion had already been earmarked for the project to get it underway.

SERAP made the call on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 in a letter signed by Kolawole Ogundare, its Deputy Director.

It also called on the Senate to reject the N2.8 billion allocated for publicity by the FCTA.

SERAP also urged the Senate to stop other potentially wasteful expenditures in the 2023 supplementary budget and the 2024 budget proposed by President Bola Tinubu.

“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 anticorruption 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.”

SERAP said the National Assembly had the constitutional right to reject wasteful and unnecessary spending to satisfy the personal comfort and lifestyles of public officials.

It said that it would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly including the Senate to fulfill its responsibilities to mitigate wasteful excesses from the federal government and 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.

“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.

“Should the Senate and its leadership fail to stop wasteful and unnecessary spending and rein in government borrowing, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly including the Senate to discharge its constitutional oversight roles in the public interest.” (GBN)

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