SERAP petitions UN over budget padding

A right group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has appealed to Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, urging him to urgently request the leadership of the House of Representatives of Nigeria to explain the alleged deliberate padding of the 2016 budget with N481 billion and also, the removal of critical projects and replacement of such projects with constituency projects.

In the petition, SERAP noted that the alleged budget padding has not only undermined the fight against corruption in the country but also exacerbated extreme poverty and violations of internationally recognised human rights.

The petition dated 27 July 2016 and signed by SERAP Executive, Director Adetokunbo Mumuni, stated that, SERAP considers the alleged budget padding, diversion of public funds and abuse of office by the leadership of the House of Representatives as amounting to a deliberate retrogressive action.

“This cannot be justified by reference to the totality of internationally recognised human rights, and in the context of the obligation to fully use the maximum available resources to fulfil and ensure the enjoyment of those rights,” the petition reads in part.

SERAP therefore urged Alston to publicly express concerns about the allegations of budget padding and diversion of public funds and abuse of office by the leadership of the House of Representatives, thereby exacerbating extreme poverty and violations of human rights.

SERAP also urged the special rapportuer 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.