A civil society organisation, the Secio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has hailed the public declaration of assets by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, saying they have set the tone for a culture of transparency in governance.
SERAP in a statement on Thursday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, lauded Buhari and Osinbajo for the gesture, saying they had demonstrated that transparency in governance is not a mirage.
The group expressed the hope that the president and vice president’s public declaration of assets would bring about the needed transformation in the institutional framework for fighting corruption in Nigeria.
It, however, urged them to ensure that other top government officials and ministers to be appointed would take a cue from them.
The statement read, “Today’s publication of asset declarations by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, turns the page on transparency and accountability in Nigeria.
“Compared to former President Goodluck Jonathan who notoriously failed to publish his asset declaration despite repeated demands by Nigerians, both Buhari and Osinbajo have shown by publicly declaring their assets that transparency doesn’t take years to achieve.
“Nigerians will now be able to use the assets published as a baseline for comparison at the end of the term of this government.
“SERAP urges the Buhari government to also publish asset declarations of their senior officials and ministers once appointed.
“SERAP hopes that this publication of asset declarations will translate into real reform of the legal and institutional frameworks established to fight corruption and good governance as well as greater respect for human rights including socio-economic rights of Nigerians such as the rights to food, to health, to education and to adequate housing, and thus improve quality of life for ordinary citizens.
“We also urge President Buhari to urgently take measures to seek amendment of the law relating to declaration of assets to include the requirement of public disclosure so as to bring it in line with international standards and best practices such as the UN Convention against Corruption”.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had in a statement on Thursday night, made public the details of the assets declared by Buhari and Osinbajo to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
According to the statement, Buhari had about N30m in his only bank account with the Union Bank Plc, while Osinbajo had a balance of N94m, $900,000 and £19,000 in his bank accounts.
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