For Allegedly failing to stop former governors and now serving senators and ministers from receiving double pay and life pensions, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the federal government before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
SERAP in the suit, which is yet to be assigned to a judge, is seeking leave to apply for Judicial Relief and to seek an order of Mandamus compelling the FG to urgently institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of states' laws permitting political office holders to enjoy governors' emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices.
The civil society organisations also wants an order compelling the government to identify those involved in the practice and seek full recovery of over N40 billion of public funds unduly received by them.
SERAP's suit followed a request to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) urging him to use his "position as a defender of public interest to institute legal actions to stop former governors from enjoying emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their positions as senators and ministers."
The suit brought pursuant to Order 34, Rules 1 and 3 of the Federal High Court Rules 2009 and the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The organisation maintained in an affidavit attached to the suit that, "Public function should be exercised in the public interest.
"Double emoluments promote private self-interest or self-dealing. By signing double emoluments laws, which they knew or ought to know that they would be beneficiaries, these former governors have abused their entrusted positions, and thereby obtained an undue advantage, contrary to article 19 of the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party."
The organisation is also arguing that "Senators and ministers should not be receiving salaries and pensions running into billions of naira from states that are currently unwilling or unable to pay their workers' salaries and pensioners' entitlements.
It further stated that," national and international laws implicitly forbid public officials entrusted with public resources from granting to themselves emoluments for life while serving in other public offices including as senators and ministers."