Declare Your Assets Publicly, Civil Groups Tell Buhari

Civil Society groups, activists, social media campaigners, may have played a very influential role in ensuring that is elected as the fourth of the in the democratic era, but that does not necessarily mean that they will always play to the gallery.

With just three days after being handed the mantle of leadership by the , is already feeling the heat that has been associated with the number one hot seat in the nation.

Muhammadu has fulfilled one of his campaign promises by declaring his assets privately; however, this has not gone down well with the vast majority of Nigerians who had expected him to publicly declare his assets.

Leading the pack of disgruntled Nigerians are the Civil society groups and activists who openly faulted the failure by Buhari and to publicly declare their assets as promised by them during their electioneering.

The groups and the activists are the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, the Civil Societies Legislative and Advocacy Centre, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and Smart Ajaja. They have therefore demanded that the assets be made public in the best interest of transparency and accountability, reports The Punch.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (), in a statement by its Executive Director, , argued that the “declaration before the CCB alone fell short of the commitment to publicly declare their assets.”

It said, “SERAP recalls that the President had said before the election that he would publicly declare his assets and liabilities, and encourage all his appointees to publicly declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment.

“We now expect the President to fulfil this promise to the Nigerian people. We trust that the President and Vice President will move swiftly to publicly declare their assets and to publish widely the information on a dedicated website.

“Public disclosure of assets will give the general public a true picture of the assets of the President and Vice President and will send a powerful message that it is not going to be business as usual with this government.

“This will also follow the best practice by former President Umaru Yar’Adua, boost this government’s fight against corruption and impunity of perpetrators.’’

The group maintained that the public disclosure of assets was crucial for ensuring that public officials’ personal interests, including that of the President and Vice President did not conflict with their duties and responsibilities.

It stated that public disclosure provided a baseline and means for comparison to identify assets that might have been corruptly acquired and that a public official might legitimately be asked to account for.

SERAP also “urged the President to urgently take measures to seek amendment to 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 United Nations Convention Against Corruption.”

Also, said Nigerians were requesting that President and the Vice President make public their asset declarations to increase transparency.

Its Executive Director , , said even though the two top government functionaries had fulfilled the constitutional requirement of submitting their asset declaration forms, they needed to take it a step further by making it public.

Musa added, “Nigerians appreciate the fact that they have complied with the constitutional requirement of asset declaration.

‘What Nigerians are saying now is that making it public will take it a step further because when they make their declaration public, other public officers will have no excuse not to follow suit.

“It will go a long way to mark a departure from the past by improving citizens participation because the CCB does not have the manpower and resources to investigate the over 10,000 public officers we have. Citizens can assist.”

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