NIGERIA: Kaduna State Lawmaker Follows Buhari's Lead, Declares His Assets

A Nigerian lawmaker on Monday became the first sitting member of parliament to declare his assets publicly, following President Muhammadu Buhari's example for greater transparency and accountability in the graft-riddled nation.

Shehu Sani, a human rights activist who heads the Civil Rights Congress lobby group, said his decision was prompted by Buhari's "moral standard" for more openness in public life.

Buhari last week declared he had no foreign bank accounts or oil concessions, owned five houses but only $151 000 at a local bank.

Aides said it was an indication of the 72-year-old's "spartan lifestyle".

His deputy, former lawyer Yemi Osinbajo, said he had about $466 000 in his local bank accounts, $900,000 and $2,900,569 in other bank accounts, four houses and three cars.

Under Nigerian law, it is mandatory for the president, the vice president, state governors and their deputies to declare their assets when they take office and before stepping down.

Other political appointees should also declare their assets but it is not mandatory for them to make them public. Legislators are not obliged to make any declaration.

Buhari's predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, refused to disclose his wealth.

Sani, who represents the central Kaduna constituency in northern Nigeria in the upper chamber of parliament the Senate, said he was worth 22 million naira, has several houses and cars.

In a statement, he said greater openness was the only way to improve Nigeria's reputation at home and abroad, which has long been tainted by corruption.

"The international image of Nigeria as a corrupt country and its political elites as patently corrupt cannot be cleansed unless and until all elected and appointed public office holders come publicly clean as to their quantity and sources of wealth," he said.

Sani, from Buhari's governing All Progressives Congress party, was jailed for pro-democracy activities by former military ruler Sani Abacha, who died in 1998, ushering a return to civilian rule the following year.
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