Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), an anti-corruption coalition, has requested that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, release details of expenditure on payments to key Digital Switchover (DSO) stakeholders.
The Federal Government has compensated stakeholders to the tune of N9.4 billion.
The anti-graft coalition asked the Minister last week in a letter to explain how the N9.4 billion released to stakeholders was spent.
The letter, titled “Request for information on the N9.4 billion approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI ACT 2011),” was delivered to the Minister on Monday.
Mohammed announced in March 2021, during the unveiling of a 13–member Ministerial Task Force on Digital Switchover (DSO), that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the payment of N9.4 billion to key DSO stakeholders.
CSNAC stated in a letter signed by its Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, that the Minister is required to make public the manner in which the funds were spent.
CSNAC’s request was predicated on the legal framework established by the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2021, which requires the public to have access to vital information.
CSNAC has 140 affiliate members spread across Nigeria, forming the most formidable anti-corruption network in the country and by far the most influential in Africa.
“Nigerians have a right to information about how their money was spent. We make this request in the public interest at large and in accordance with the principles of transparency and accountability in public administration “Suraju stated in his letter to the Minister.
There is controversy surrounding the expenditure, with allegations that N2.5 billion was given as a seed grant to a private company, prompting the suspension and arraignment of a former National Broadcasting Commission Director-General (NBC).
The coalition stated that it was making the request in accordance with Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the 2011 Freedom of Information Act.
“We’ve given you seven days to respond. This is necessary for the information ministry to avoid facing criminal charges “Suraju continued.