Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to declare their assets publicly, consistent with their apparent anti-corruption credentials and their promise to do so.
SERAP made the request in a statement by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, on Sunday, following the declaration of assets by the President and Vice President to the Code of Conduct Bureau as required by the Constitution.
“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 encourage all his appointees to publicly declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment. We now expect the President to fulfil this promise to the Nigerian people,” the organisation said.
The organisation also expects the President and Vice President 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,” the group added.
The group said that it believes 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 added.