Buhari’s minister ordered by court to account for N729bn payment for citizens

By Kachi Ekile

Sadiya Umar-Farouq, a former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development, has been ordered by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to account for N729 billion meant for 24.4 million impoverished Nigerians.

Delivering judgment in the Freedom of Information suit number FHC/L/CS/853/2021, brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Justice Deinde Isaac Dipeolu instructed Umar-Farouq to provide the list and details of the beneficiaries who received the payments, the number of states covered, and the payments per state.

According to reports, the certified true copy of the judgment which was passed in June was obtained last Friday by the organisation.

Justice Dipeolu, while giving his verdict, said, “The former minister is compelled by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act to give information to any person, including SERAP. I therefore grant an order of mandamus directing and compelling the minister to provide the spending details of N729 billion to 24.3 million poor Nigerians in 2021.”

Umar-Farouq was also ordered to “provide SERAP with details of how the beneficiaries have been selected and the mechanisms for the payments to the beneficiaries.”

The former minister was told to “explain the rationale for paying N5,000 to 24.3 million poor Nigerians, which translates to five per cent of Nigeria’s budget of N13.6 trillion for 2021.”

“The minister did not give any reason for the refusal to disclose the details sought by SERAP. SERAP has reeled out the relevant sections of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 that the minister contravened and has, in line with sections 20 and 25(1) of the Act, prayed this Court for an order of mandamus to direct and compel the minister to provide the information sought”, Justice Dipeolu ruled.

The objections raised by the minister’s counsel were dismissed by the judge who upheld SERAP’s arguments.

Justice Dipeolu thereafter passed his judgment in favour of the organisation against Umar-Farouq.

The post Buhari’s minister ordered by court to account for N729bn payment for citizens appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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