Nothing to show for how NASS spent N1.3trn in 10 years, say CSOs.

Advocates of the #OpenNass campaign say between 2006 and 2016, approximately N1.3 trillion was allocated to the national assembly with no records to show how the funds were spent.

Addressing a joint-press conference on Tuesday, representatives of civil society organisations, such as Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), Budgit and Reclaim Naija, said the lack of financial accountability in parliament is dangerous for the country’s democracy.

“The budgets of the national assembly, the National Judicial Commission (NJC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), amongst others, are a first line charge. As such, it is not necessary for these institutions to provide to a detailed breakdown of their budget as part of the annual budgeting process,”Dan Nengel, project officer of EiE, told journalists on behalf of the CSOs.

“This is a great disservice to Nigerians as it does nothing for transparency and accountability. For example, between 2006 and 2016, approximately N1.3 trillion has been allocated to the national assembly — $4.2 billion and there are no records of how most of this monies were spent.

“Lack of accountability in the national assembly is very dangerous for our democracy because those who are elected to provide oversight over the executive arm’s implementation of our budget cannot be expected to provide leadership and ensure accountability when they have refused to be accountable with resources allocated to them.

“Over the last three years, the national assembly has refused to respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and a court order to provide its detailed budget. The national assembly was recently taken to court by SERAP for failing to respond to an FOI request about its running cost.”

They expressed concern that several reports on allegation of corruption in the national assembly have been shrouded in secrecy.

The coalition said they would promote three advocacy goals, which are: that national assembly publishes the breakdown of their 2016 and 2017 budgets, maintain a functional website and activate a switchboard where citizens can engage their representatives and replace voice voting with electronic voting.

They also said the voting records should be made public.

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