The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to explain why $1 billion is needed for the Boko Haram war.
SERAP said this will bring about transparency in expenses made by the government in the fight against insurgency.
During the national executive council meeting last week, governors had approved the withdrawal of the money from the excess crude account.
They said the money should be used to fight Boko Haram insurgents the north-east.
In a statement on Sunday, SERAP said the government needs to explain why the fund is needed “especially against the background of the declaration by the authorities that the anti-insurgency war has ended and the Boko Haram terror group defeated”.
The statement signed by Timothy Adewale, SERAP deputy director, read: “Nigerians should have some sense of what it is the government is doing in our name, especially against the background of the unresolved questions on how over $2bn was spent by former Jonathan administration to fight Boko Haram.
“The government also ought to tell Nigerians whether and how the legal requirements for approving the extra-budgetary allocations were met.
“As a government presumably pursuing a change-agenda, Buhari should do things differently from the former Jonathan administration including by proactively engaging the Nigerian people in an honest conversation about the fight against Boko Haram and the use of the public funds so far invested to prosecute it.”
SERAP said Nigerians do not have sufficient information “to evaluate, much less influence, the government’s policies, strategies and funding to end Boko Haram insurgency”.
It said Nigerians need to know the level of success that has been recorded against Boko Haram, and the security situation in the north-east, “as well as the amount of public funds that have been invested to combat terrorism”.
SERAP said: “The government should therefore emphasise transparency over secrecy on the spending on Boko Haram. Buhari should keep Nigerians up-to-date about what he’s doing to end Boko Haram, including by explaining why $1bn is needed at this time to fight the insurgency.
“Indeed, the health of our democracy depends upon the government’s willingness to ensure that the policies and programs it pursues in the interest of national security are truly relevant and effective in keeping us safe.
“Transparency in the spending on Boko Haram would also have an indirect effect on other branches in the sense of setting an example and changing the background tone of government. Such disclosure helps to ensure government’s adherence to the rule of law and promote confidence in the lawfulness of governmental action.”