Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was ordered by Justice Abubakar Abdu-Kafarati of the Federal High Court in Abuja to make public information of all appropriations and statutory transfers in the national budget.
“We are contending that under a constitutional democracy funded on the rule of law and the sovereignty of the people, no agency of government - under any guise whatsoever - is allowed to spend public resources in the way and manner for purposes not known to citizens,” Eze Onyekpere, Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice told CNBC Africa.
The release of the budgetary details for the following key government agencies have been ordered: the Independent National Electoral Commission, National Human Rights Commission, the National Assembly, Niger Delta Development Commission, National Judicial Council and the Universal Basic Education.
“We need to see the details of this budget, so we can know whether it was properly made and whether these expenses are things that Nigerians need,” he explained.
According to Onyekpere, the last time the budget of the National Assembly was published about three or four years ago, it included items such as “members’ image laundry” which cost between 106 billion to 150 billion naira.
“For you to have such an item, it means that the members understood that their image was not good and they needed to launder that image. However, is this the kind of thing Nigerians should be paying for?”
Onyekpere also believes that the minister owes the people a duty under the current laws to disclose the information. He said it was when she refused that the case was taken to court.
“The work has just begun. As soon as we collect the details, we will review them to know whether what was appropriated to them complies with the laws of the land,” he added.