SERAP Calls on Senate President to Reject Proposed N15 Billion Spending on VP’s Residence. They urged the Senate President, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, to take a firm stance against the proposed spending of N15 billion for the construction of a new residence for the Vice President, Mr. Kashim Shettima, terming it a breach of the Nigerian Constitution and international anticorruption standards.

In a letter dated December 2, 2023, signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization underscored the need for the Senate to exercise its oversight responsibilities to reject the planned N2.8 billion expenditure on publicity for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and other potentially wasteful spending items in the 2023 supplementary and 2024 budgets.

According to SERAP, the plan to allocate N15 billion for the Vice President’s residence constitutes a grave violation of constitutional provisions and international obligations. The organization emphasized the Senate’s constitutional duty to ensure the compliance of proposed expenditure with constitutional stipulations and officials’ oath of office.

The letter highlighted the need for the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, to address Nigeria’s escalating debt crisis and curb unnecessary expenses that cater to the personal comfort and lifestyles of public officeholders.

SERAP cautioned against the approval of the proposed spending, citing Nigeria’s plans to allocate 30% of the 2024 budget to debt servicing, amounting to N8.25 trillion, and borrowing an additional N7.8 trillion to fund the budget. The country’s current public debt stands at 87.4 trillion naira, with 38% owed to external creditors.

Expressing concern about the whereabouts of previously approved funds for the Vice President’s residence, which reportedly remains undisclosed despite being allocated, SERAP emphasized the Senate’s authority to compel compliance with the constitution and international obligations.

The organization called for a review of the allocations and proposed spending in the supplementary budget, highlighting concerns about budgetary allocations for official residences and vehicle purchases for government officials.

SERAP emphasized the constitutional obligations vested in the National Assembly, including the Senate, to ensure prudent and lawful spending of public funds, stressing the importance of upholding citizens’ welfare and national prosperity in line with constitutional provisions.

The organization reiterated its commitment to ensuring government accountability, pledging to take appropriate legal action if the Senate fails to exercise its oversight role in curbing unnecessary spending, upholding citizens’ interests, and enforcing compliance with constitutional provisions and international obligations.