Nigeria

Anti-corruption group demands details of N9.4 billion digital expenditure

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this at a media briefing on Monday in Lagos, said centres were also built in collaboration with states and the private sector to isolate and treat cases of COVID-19.

The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has been asked to release details of expenditure on payment to key Digital Switch Over, (DSO) stakeholders.

In a letter addressed to the minister last week, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, (CSNAC), asked the minister to make available to the public how the N9.4billion funds released to the stakeholders was spent.

The letter with the caption “Request for information on the N9.4b approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI ACT 2011)” was sent to the Minister last Monday

In March 2021, during the unveiling of the 13 – member Ministerial Task Force on Digital Switch Over (DSO), Mohammed had reportedly announced that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the sum of N9.4 billion as outstanding payment to key Digital Switch Over (DSO) stakeholders.

CSNAC in the letter signed by its Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju said the minister has immediate obligation to make public how the funds were expended.

The request by CSNAC was hinged on legal framework of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2021 which mandates public access to vital information.

The CSNAC has some 140 affiliate members spread across Nigeria representing the country’s most formidable anti-corruption network and by far one of the most influential in Africa.

“Nigerians have the right to know how the funds were spent. We are making the request in the overall public interest and in line with transparency and accountability in public administration” Suraju said in the letter.

Controversy is raging over the funds amidst allegation that the expenditure was shrouded in corruption, which led to the suspension and arraignment of a former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

The coalition is making the request in line with Section 2, 3 and 4 of the FOI Act, 2011.

CSNAC’s requests being made include but not limited to evidence of payments made to the stakeholders/beneficiaries of the N9.4 Billion, agreement of engagement of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) stakeholders and a detailed expenditure that meets global standard.

“We have given you seven days to respond to the request. This is necessary for the Information Ministry to avoid necessary charges in the Court of law,” Suraju said

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