The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has disclosed that Nigeria’s 36 states have reportedly spent N1.71 trillion on recurrent expenditures from January to September 2023.
This is contained in a letter addressed to the President of World Bank, Mr Ajay Banga, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023.
In the letter, SERAP urged the World Bank to suspend loans to the 36 state governments of the federation owing to credible allegations of mismanagement of public funds by state governors.
According to SERAP, several state governors are reportedly spending public funds, which include funding from the World Bank on frivolous items that do not benefit the residents of their states.
The organisation further revealed that though Nigeria’s public debt stock stood at N46.25 trillion as at the fourth quarter of 2022, many states are still owing civil servants salaries and pensions, while several states rely on borrowing to pay salaries.
This implies that the public funds which these governments obtained from allocation from the federal government and loans from the World Bank are not used for human development and capital projects that would benefit the residents in the various states of the federation.
SERAP further revealed that the state governors squander the public funds under their management on unnecessary travel, bulletproof vehicles, and to fund the lavish lifestyles that politicians in Nigeria lead.
The SERAP letter to the World Bank provided a breakdown of some frivolous recurrent expenditures of Nigeria’s state governments in the first nine months of 2023.
Abia State, for example, reportedly spent N397,520,734.84 on feeding and welfare, while N223,389,889.84 was spent on refreshments and meals, according to SERAP.
Similarly, the Lagos State government reportedly awarded the sum of N440,750,000 to the Office of the Chief of Staff for the procurement of a brand new bullet-proof Lexus LX 600 for use in the pool of the Office of Chief of Staff.
In addition, SERAP alleged that the Lagos State Government budgeted N2bn to buy rechargeable fans, rechargeable lights and fridges in the Office of the Deputy Governor.
Furthermore, the letter revealed that the Benue State government reportedly spent N34.44bn on ‘special day celebrations’ ‘welfare packages’, ‘security votes’, and materials and supplies such as office stationery, and books.”
Also, SERAP stated that Borno, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Ebonyi states also respectively spent N32.63bn, N43.71bn, N152.15bn, N30.91bn, and N41.11bn on frivolous items and public funds may have been mismanaged or diverted.
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