Civil society organisations and 583 worried Nigerians have filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, to stop government from spending N37bn on the renovation of the National Assembly complex by the Federal Capital Development Agency.
The groups behind the suit include Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, BudgIT, Enough is Enough.
They want the court to determine if “N37bn proposed, voted and allocated for renovation of the National Assembly Complex in the 2020 budget signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari is not in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers (Fifth Schedule Part 1) of the Nigerian constitution of 1999 (as amended) and Oath of a Member of the National Assembly.”
Some known names among the co-plaintiffs include Bring Back Our Girls co-convener, Aisha Yesufu; Nigerian musician and actor, Banky Wellington; Mrs. Ayo Obe; Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1633/2019, the plaintiffs contended that, “Spending N37bn to renovate the National Assembly complex is self-serving, wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional expenditure of public funds, as it means less money for educating millions of out-of-school Nigerian children, providing access to clean water and healthcare to Nigerians including the elderly, or repairing the country’s roads and bridges.”
The complaint brought by Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, argue that “The National Assembly complex was reportedly constructed at the cost of $35.18m in 1999 and ₦40.2bn was budgeted in December 2013 for the construction of phase III of the National Assembly complex and renovation of the first and second phases of the complex.”