The Socioeconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prohibit the purchase of new cars by the presidency and all ministers for the remainder of the current administration's term, that is, until May 2023.
The group, in an open letter to the president, asked him to accept Namibia's suggestion and “use the savings from this ban to support students from tertiary institutions across the country to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and the blockade on them. their parents and to improve access to health for all Nigerians ”.
SERAP also asked Buhari to encourage the National Assembly and governors to prohibit the purchase of new cars and to use savings to pay workers 'wages and pensioners' rights. "
Namibia's President Hage Geingobon last week imposed a five-year ban on buying new cars for top politicians and government officials in order to redirect funds to combat COVID-19 in your country.
In the letter of 16 May 2020 and signed by SERAP's deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the urgent need for senior public and political officials to demonstrate constitutional oaths of absolute loyalty to public and common good. As curators of public funds for Nigerians, their government, the National Assembly and governors are accountable to the public for the use of these funds. "
SERAP stated: “Spending public funds requires the highest degree of public trust. It is the constitutional duty of every public official to protect and preserve the public interest in public spending. "
According to SERAP: "Imposing a ban on new cars by the presidency, ministers and encouraging the National Assembly and governors to do the same would serve the public interest and contribute to reducing the cost of governance."
The letter said, in part: “Constitutional oaths of office by civil servants include the responsibility to prioritize the welfare of Nigerians.
“Copying the example of Namibia will also show that public funds will be spent for the benefit of the people, and not as a prerogative for the advantage of the government or for the benefit of public officials.
“SERAP also recommends that you consider banning spending on generators in the presidency and cutting spending on items such as furniture and accessories, snacks, catering services and the purchase of kitchen equipment and household items.
“As the government prepares to finalize the proposed 2020 budget amendment, we urge it to immediately impose a ban on the purchase of new cars by the presidency and to encourage the National Assembly and the 36 state governors to do the same, and to ensure that funds are used for the benefit of the public.
"SERAP remains concerned that several state governments do not pay workers 'wages and that the federal government does not pay pensioners' rights.
“This is a clear violation of the right to work recognized under Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, of which Nigeria is a State Party. The right to work is essential for the realization of other human rights and constitutes an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.
“According to reports, the President of Namibia, Hage Geingobon, imposed on Thursday a five-year ban on buying new cars for politicians and government officials to buy new cars in order to redirect funds to combat COVID-19 in your country.
“This presidential directive should save the country about 200 million Namibian dollars (US $ 10.7 million), which would be directed towards“ urgent priorities, specifically at a time when the country is dealing with the economic and health implications of COVID – 19
"We hope that the highlighted aspects will help guide your actions to guarantee and promote the public interest and the common good in public spending."
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