Lagos, Nigeria, 21 July 2013.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Federal Government to the Federal High Court, Ikoyi over failure to provide information on the spending of the N700bn borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013, and details of projects on which this money was spent.
The Suit Number FHC/L/CS/978/13 was filed last week following a request made under the FOI Act by the organization.
Joined as Defendants in the suit are the Accountant-General, Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Muhammed Adoke. The suit is seeking the following reliefs:
A DECLARATION that by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the 1st Defendant is under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff with up to date information on the spending of N700bn borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013 and details of projects on which the money was spent.
A DECLARATION that the failure of 1st Defendant to provide the Plaintiff with the information requested is a breach of section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information 2011.
AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS directing and/or compelling the 1st Defendant to provide the Plaintiff with up to date information as requested.
According to the organization, “by the clear provisions of section 2(3)(d)(V) of the FOI Act, documents containing information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds of a public institution constitute part of the information which a public institution is obligated to publish, disseminate and make available to members of the public.”
The organization also argued that the 1st Defendant “is legally mandated by the provisions of section 4(a) of the FOI Act to comply with a request for access to public information except where the FOI Act exempts a public official from so disclosing.”
The organization further argued that the 1st Defendant “has no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide the Plaintiff with the information requested” and urged the court “to compel it to comply with the provisions of the Act by providing the Plaintiff with the information requested.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application.
SERAP Executive Director