Probe Loans To Nigerian Governors, SERAP Tells World Bank

Subsidy: NNPCL Needs To Be Transparent — World Bank
Subsidy: NNPCL Needs To Be Transparent — World Bank

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects (SERAP) has urged the World Bank to initiate an investigation into the loans acquired by the 36 state governors in Nigeria.

The group, expressing concerns over the escalating debt profile of the states, called for an immediate suspension of further loans until the governors provide a transparent account of how previous loans were utilised.

In a letter addressed to the President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, claimed that the states had mismanaged and diverted public funds, making it imprudent to continue granting them loans.

The group highlighted the need for the World Bank to deploy its legal powers by sending independent monitors to scrutinise the spending of loans acquired by the states.

SERAP said that providing financial assistance to states facing credible allegations of fund mismanagement could imply complicity in such actions.

‘’The World Bank and its partners cannot continue to give loans and other funding to these states where there are credible allegations of mismanagement or diversion of public funds.

‘’We are concerned that there is a significant risk of mismanagement or diversion of funds linked to the bank’s investments in many of the country’s 36 states. It is neither appropriate nor responsible lending to give loans to these states only for the loans to be misspent,” the statement read.

The group drew attention to the total public debt portfolio of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, amounting to N9.17tn, as reported by Nigeria’s Debt Management Office.

The Federal Government’s public debt portfolio was noted to be N78.2tn.

The World Bank was urged to demand a commitment from the governors to address allegations of fund mismanagement in their states.

SERAP insisted that the bank should ensure that loans and funding would not be diverted to support the opulent lifestyles of politicians.

The group threatened legal action against the World Bank if it failed to probe the governors and implement the recommendations outlined in the letter.

SERAP pointed out the bank’s legal responsibility to uphold compliance with the Nigerian Constitution and domestic laws, emphasising the need for justice against suspected perpetrators of financial mismanagement.

As of now, the World Bank has not issued a public response to SERAP’s demands.