President Muhammadu Buhari is being sued by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) for “failing to investigate claims that over N11 trillion intended to provide consistent energy supply since 1999 may have been stolen, mismanaged, or diverted into private pockets.”
The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers; Kolawole Oluwadare and Adelanke Aremo, on Sunday, June 26.
As the energy grid apparently failed at least three times in five months and 130 times in seven years; Nigerian cities have frequently been left in the dark.
The World Bank estimates that Nigerian firms lose $29 billion annually as a result of inconsistent power supplies.
SERAP is requesting “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to investigate how over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply has allegedly been squandered by governments since 1999″ in the lawsuit FHC/L/CS/1119/2022, which was filed last week at the Federal High Court, Lagos.”
SERAP is also seeking “an order of mandamus to compel President Buhari to ensure the prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible for the missing electricity fund, as appropriate, and to ensure the tracing and full recovery of any missing public funds.”
It argued that “It is in the public interest to ensure justice and accountability for alleged corruption and mismanagement in the electricity sector; which has resulted in the failure of governments to solve Nigeria’s perennial power problem.”
The organisation further noted that; “The staggering amounts of public funds alleged to have been stolen over the years in the sector have had catastrophic effects on the lives of millions of Nigerians, akin to crimes against humanity against the Nigerian people.”
SERAP further noted; “The failure to trace, find and recover the missing electricity fund is antithetical to the public interest; the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], and the country’s international obligations.
“Nigerians have for far too long been denied justice; the opportunity to get to the bottom of why they continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector; staying in darkness but are still made to pay crazy electricity bills.
“Investigating the allegations of missing N11 trillion electricity funds; prosecuting suspected perpetrators, and recovering any missing public funds would end a culture of impunity. It would also address the persistent collapse of the electricity grid; improve access to and affordability of electricity in the country.
“Corruption in the electricity sector and the lack of transparency and accountability in the use of public funds; to support the operations of DISCOS; have resulted in regular blackouts, electricity grid collapse, and unlawful hike in electricity tariffs.”
Joined in the suit as Respondent is Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice.