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133m poor Nigerians: SERAP takes Buhari to court

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over “the failure to thoroughly investigate spending on all social safety nets and poverty alleviation programmes and projects executed between 2015 and 2022.”

Joined in the suit as respondent is Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

A recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, made damning revelations that some 133 million Nigerians are poor, despite the federal government reportedly spending N500billion yearly on ‘social investment programmes.’ Half of all poor people in Nigeria are children.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/2357/2022 filed on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP is also asking the court to “direct and compel Buhari to make sure that suspected perpetrators of mismanagement of public funds meant to take care of the poor face prosecution, as any stolen public funds are recovered.”

In the suit, the organization argued that “Nigerians have the right to be free from poverty”, adding that “allegations of corruption in social safety nets and poverty alleviation programmes pose both indirect and direct threats to human rights and contribute to extreme poverty in the country.”

The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare, Kehinde Oyewumi, and Blessing Ogwuche.

However, a date for the hearing of the suit is yet to be fixed.

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