Oladimeji Ramon

A human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the audit of recovered loot to 1999 when the country returned to democracy.

The group said this would be in line with a court judgment it secured in March last year directing successive governments since 1999 to account for the recovered loot.

SERAP, in an open letter to Buhari on Sunday, said it welcomed the Audit Committee on Recovery and Management of Stolen Assets recently set up by the Federal Government.

It, however, urged that the mandate of the committee should extend to the administrations of Olusegun Obasanjo, Musa Yar’ Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

The open letter signed by SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, read in part, “Extending the mandates of the committee to cover periods starting from the return of democracy in 1999 could have a profound effect on combating the culture of impunity that prevails wherever corrupt individuals feel that the risk of punishment is low, and that they would be allowed to keep their ill-gotten wealth.

 “Partial implementation of the judgment by Justice Mohammed Idris would continue to encourage impunity for grand corruption. And the effects of corruption on the rule of law are not only harmful, but also destructive to the entire criminal justice system, as well as erode public trust in law and order.

“We believe that the more transparent and democratic a society is, the more resilient it would be against corruption. And the more corruption is tamed, and recovered stolen assets properly spent on developmental projects, the more Nigeria can thrive among the comity of nations.”

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