Governance

SERAP: President Buhari, Osinbajo should publish assets

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President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo should follow the example of Kebbi Deputy Governor, Yombe Dabai Samaila, by publishing their asset declaration forms, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) implored.

Samaila had last week forwarded his asset declaration form to SERAP while responding to the organisation’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

The form which dated May 28, 2019 and sworn to before Justice Bikebbi of Kebbi state High Court, shows that Samaila declared assets, including landed property and cash in banks valued at N353,136,378.56 from which he stated that he receives N61,500,000.00 yearly as income.

SERAP had in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/65/2020 filed in January 2020 asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to order Buhari, Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to “make public details of their assets, specifically property and income, contained in their asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since assuming office.”

According to a statement dated October 4, 2020, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “We welcome Mr. Samaila’s demonstrated commitment to transparency and accountability, especially at a time when many government officials and institutions continue to exhibit blatant disregard for Freedom of Information requests by refusing to even acknowledge several of such requests.

“President Buhari and Vice-President Osinbajo should show leadership by immediately widely publishing their asset declaration forms, just as Mr. Samaila has rightly done.

“We also call on Mr Abubakar Bagudu, governor Kebbi state and other governors and their deputies to emulate and learn from Mr Samaila’s good example by immediately publishing their assets.

“President Buhari and Vice-President Osinbajo should stand up for transparency in asset declarations by public officers as a sign of their oft-repeated principled stand on transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s resources.

“This government’s stated commitment to fight corruption will ring hollow as long as Buhari and Osinbajo continue to ignore repeated requests to publish their asset declaration forms.

Samaila’s letter dated September 2020, and signed on his behalf by Nura Abdullahi Koko, Director of Administration, reads in part: “In reference to your Freedom of Information request and suit, I am directed by Mr Samaila Yombe Dabai, Deputy Governor Kebbi state to forward herewith a copy of his assets declaration as requested by SERAP.

“While thanking you for your understanding, please accept the assurance of the Deputy Governor best regards always.”

According to SERAP, Samaila’s assets declaration form reads in part: “Cash in Nigerian banks: N364,420, in a bank in Lagos, which is money from my military pension. N1,471, 958.56 in another bank in Kaduna, which is money from my personal income. I have no cash in foreign banks.

“I bought a 3-bedroom flat [upstairs] in Kebbi state through my military savings and business income in 1984 and the property is valued at N16m.

“I also have a 6-bedroom and 2 Guest House of 3-bedroom in Kebbi state, valued at N38m. I have a 4-bedroom duplex in Asokoro, Abuja, which I bought in 2017 through personal income. I have no vacant/undeveloped plots.

“I have a 2-bedroom flat in Kaduna state, and the property is valued at N30m. I bought it in 2001 through savings from business income.

“ I earn N1m yearly from the property. I also have 48 hectares of farm land in Kaduna state, as a gift from the Emir of Dande in 1983. The property is valued at N10m. I make N2.5m yearly from the property.

“I have a company named Yomed Nigeria Limited, Kaduna, which deals in air services, primary school and agriculture service equipment. The company was established in 2007, and is valued at N98m. I make N28m monthly as income from the company.

“I also bought CESSNA 206 Aircraft, Kaduna in 2014, and it is valued at N99.6m, and I make N30m yearly as income from this.

“I bought a Ford Bus Caravan in 2017, valued at N1.5m; Toyota Tundra in 2012 valued at N3m; Range Rover Jeep in 2013 valued at N7m; and another Ford Bus Caravan in 2016 valued at N5.2m.

“I have 2 set of furniture and electronics in Kaduna and Zuru, which I bought between 2013—2019, and the property is valued at N3m. My wife owns a property valued at N25m but my children own no property. I have no government securities, no shares in and outside Nigeria.”

Fatimah Oyesanmi

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