Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP) has charged the President, Muhammadu Buhari to “urge the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN and all the anti-corruption agencies to swiftly and thoroughly investigate how the Ecological Funds were been spent by government at every levels—federal, state and local government spanning from 2001 till date”.

SERAP came out to say that, “Suspected perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement should be made to face prosecution as appropriate, which is if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any missing public funds should be fully recovered’.

The letter sent by SERAP followed report that the ravaging flooding taking place in some part of the Nation, which has led to the loss of over 600 lives, the displacement of millions of people and destruction of properties worth billions.

The state that are most affected by this flooding includes Anambra, Delta, Kogi, Rivers, Benue, Yobe, Cross River and Bayelsa.

In the open letter sent by SERAP, dated 22nd October 2022 and signed by the deputy director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization had this to say “trillions of ecological funds have allegedly gone down the drain, and the resulting human cost directly threaten human right—right to life and place to live—right that your government has an obligation to protect.”

SERAP went ahead to say that, “Irrespective of the cause of a threat to human right, your government still has positive obligations to use all the means within its disposal to uphold the human right of those affected”

The letter, which was read in part: “Your government has the legal obligations to hold all tiers of government and emergency management agencies to account, and trace, find, and recover any missing ecological funds.”

Your government also has legal obligations to effectively address the aftermath of the flooding such as deterioration in health, diminishing access to safe drinking water and susceptibility of the areas affected to disease.”

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”

“Climate change also has the potential to exacerbate existing threats to human rights in the country. Rising global temperatures will jeopardize many people’s livelihoods, increasing their vulnerability to poverty and social deprivation.”

“In order to uphold its constitutional and international human rights obligations, your government must respond to the impacts of the flooding, and of climate change generally.”

“According to the audit of the Ecological Fund Office carried out by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI), the total amount allocated and received by the fund from December 2011 to November 2016 was N277 billion.”

“The operations of the Fund from 2012 to 2016 reportedly showed that some of the disbursements were not utilised for the purpose for which it was established. During these periods, N74,170,932,645.20 was released to State Governments to solve ecological problems in their States.”

“Impunity for corruption in the management of Ecological Fund will continue as long as high-ranking public officials go largely unpunished for their alleged crimes. It is by pursuing these allegations and taking the evidence before the court that the truth will be revealed and justice best served.”

“SERAP is seriously concerned that years of allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending of Ecological Fund and entrenched impunity of perpetrators have undermined the ability of governments at all levels and emergency management agencies to prevent the impact of flooding on the human rights of socio-economically vulnerable Nigerians, and to effectively respond to the problem.”