SERAP Urges Tinubu, Shettima, Others To Publish Assets To Mark First Year In Office

SERAP Urges Tinubu, Shettima, Others To Publish Assets To Mark First Year In Office

3 weeks ago
2 mins read

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Bola Tinubu to mark his first year in office by publicly releasing his assets declaration form.

This appeal was made in a statement issued on Sunday by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

“Use the anniversary of your first year in office as an opportunity to demonstrate your oft-expressed commitment to democracy, accountability, and openness in government by immediately publishing your asset declaration form,” Oluwadare said. He also urged Tinubu to “encourage your Vice-President Kashim Shettima, ministers, and state governors to also widely publish their asset declaration forms.”

SERAP’s statement emphasized that transparency in the details of asset declarations by high-level public officials would strengthen democracy and promote accountability. “You promised in your inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, ‘to take proactive steps to discourage corruption’, and to ensure that ‘Nigeria is impartially governed according to the constitution and the rule of law’,” the statement read.

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SERAP highlighted the need for a constitutional amendment to create an asset declaration database that would publish government officials’ asset declarations before, during, and after their time in public office. This, they believe, would “promote public trust and establish a system of transparency, accountability, and public participation.”

“Transparency in the details of asset declaration forms would also enable Nigerians to scrutinize the forms and verify the financial situation of public officials, alerting them to possible conflicts of interest and corruption,” the organization noted.

The group further stated that the declaration of assets by public officials is a “matter of public interest,” and that the government should lead by example. “One of the ways corrupt politicians in the country have perpetuated corrupt practices is through hiding assets,” SERAP noted.

SERAP cited various legal frameworks supporting the requirement for asset declarations, including the Nigerian Constitution, the Tribunal Act, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the UN Convention against Corruption.

“We hope that the aspects highlighted will help guide your steps in taking steps to publish your asset declaration form and to encourage others to do so,” the organization urged.

The Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to the President, Bayo Onanuga, spoke to Sunday PUNCH about Tinubu’s commitment to accountability. He also mentioned Tinubu’s readiness to fire underperforming ministers. “The President is prepared to take necessary actions against any minister who does not meet the set targets,” Onanuga stated.

Onanuga rated the administration’s performance as it approached its first year in office highly, giving it a score of 70 percent. “The President has shown dedication to ensuring maximum efficiency in his administration,” he added.

SERAP’s call to action comes at a crucial time as Nigeria faces numerous challenges, including corruption and a lack of transparency in government. The organization’s push for the publication of asset declarations is seen as a significant step toward enhancing accountability and restoring public trust in the government.

“Information regarding the property and economic interests of public officials ought to be accessible to the public through a website created for this purpose,” SERAP stated. They argued that since asset declaration forms are public documents, public officials cannot claim that publishing their assets would violate their privacy rights.

“There is an overriding public interest in the disclosure of information on the assets of public officers who are trustees of Nigeria’s wealth and resources,” SERAP concluded.

As Nigeria looks to its leaders for accountability and transparency, SERAP’s call for the publication of asset declarations by President Tinubu and other high-level officials is a reminder of the importance of openness in governance. The public will be watching closely to see how the President responds to this call for greater transparency and accountability.


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