Law/Order News

SERAP files lawsuit against Buhari over move to borrow N895bn from unclaimed dividends

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to restrain and stop President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal government from borrowing an estimated N895billion of Nigerians money in the form of their unclaimed dividends and balances in dormant accounts.

The suit followed recent move by the federal government to take over and borrow unclaimed dividends and dormant account balances owned by Nigerians in any bank in the country. However, the same legislation explicitly excludes dormant official bank accounts by all branches of government and their agencies.

Those joined in the suit as defendants are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

In the suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/31/2021 filed last week, SERAP is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining and stopping President Buhari from demanding, taking over, borrowing, and collecting Nigerians’ money in the form of their unclaimed dividends and funds in dormant accounts or transferring the money into a trust fund known as ‘Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund’.

The organisation is arguing that the federal government should not be allowed to borrow Nigerians’ money.

According to SERAP, “Despite Nigeria’s dwindling oil revenue, the growing level of public debt and widespread poverty, public officers, including the president, vice president, governors and their deputies, and members of the National Assembly have refused to cut down their emoluments, allowances and security votes. At the same time, millions of Nigerians continue to bear the brunt of mismanagement and corruption.

“For there to be a borrower, there must be a lender. The intention to enter into such borrower-lender relationship must be known to both parties. Any other arrangement that allows a borrower to access funds from a lender without the knowledge and express consent of the lender will amount to stealing.”

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