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Posts tagged ‘Attorney general’

Court orders the leader of MEND Charles Okah for psychiatrist test.


Charles-Tombrah-Okah

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Wednesday, ordered Charles Okah, who is a younger brother to ex-leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, Henry, be subjected to a psychiatric test.

The court directed that the test should be conducted with a view to ascertaining if Charles who is currently answering to a criminal allegation bothering on terrorism, is fit to stand trial.

Okah, alongside one Obi Nwabueze, are facing trial over the 2010 Independence Day twin bomb blasts at the Eagle Square, which caused the death of about 12 people, leaving several others injured.

It will be recalled that one of the alleged masterminds of the bombing, Mr Osvwo Tekemfa Francis, a.k.a ‘General-Gbokos’, died in prison while the trial was going on, even as the high court, in a separate judgment, jailed one of the accused persons, Edmund Ebiware, to life imprisonment.

All the accused persons were said to have superintended over varying terrorist activities that hitherto took place within the oil rich Niger Delta region of the country, including the bomb explosion that rocked a post amnesty programme that was organised by Vanguard Newspaper in Warri, Delta State.

Meanwhile, Charles, who has since gone to the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court to challenge his trial, was yesterday brought to court in a wheel chair by prison officials.

His lawyer, Mr John Ainetor, told the court that his client’s health condition has deteriorated, maintaining that Charles, who shook uncontrollably while inside the wheel chair yesterday, could no longer walk.

He alleged that the prison authorities denied him of adequate medical care, say6ing it was the sole reason why the accused, despite spirited efforts, could not stand in t6he dock yesterday.

In his response, the prosecutor, Dr Alex Iziyon, SAN, maintained that the accused person was deliberately trying to hoodwink the court into believing that he is not fit to stand trial.

Iziyon argued that the legal requirement that the accused must be fit to stand trial does not imply that he must be able to stand on his feet in court.

He contended that the law stipulated that he must be of sound mind and be conscious enough to understand happenings around him.

Iziyon, citing the case of former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, who was taken to court while in bed, and in a cage, and noted that if the law could allow a former president to be so treated, Okah, an ordinary citizen cannot hid under a doubtful claim of ill-health to evade trial.

He argued that the claim of ill-health was a part of the defence counsel’s strategy to continue to delay trial.

However, Justice Kolawole, drew attention of the lawyer to a medical report that was written on Okah by the prison authorities, which was equally endorsed by the Chief Consultant Neurologists at the National Hospital, Abuja.

Part of the report by the medical experts at the National Hospital was to the effect that by his conduct, there was need to subject Okah to Psychiatric evaluation, to ascertain his mental state.

Consequently, the court held that in view of such expert opinion, there was need to ascertain the exact mental status of the accused person.

“I am ready to exercise a little more patient”, the judge stated, even as he ordered that the accused be taken to the National Hospital for psychiatric evaluation within seven days from today.

The judge equally ordered that the report of the examination should be made available to the court through the court’s Deputy Registrar (Litigation).

He held that should it turn out that the accused (Okah) is not mentally stable enough to be subjected to trial, he should be transferred to a psychiatric home where he will remain until he is certified fit for trial.

The judge further held that the bill for the treatment and examination of the accused person should be paid by the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), just as the case was adjourned till January 15.

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

Source: Radio Biafra.

Holder: I Wouldn’t Be AG Without 1963 Marchers.


Attorney General Eric Holder says the spirit of the 1963 March on Washington now demands equal rights for gays, Latinos, women and people with disabilities.

Speaking before tens of thousands of people on the National Mall, the nation’s first black attorney general praised those who faced repression and brutality to march a half century ago. He thanked them for standing up to “racist governments and governors.”

Without them, he said, he’d never be the attorney general and Barack Obama would not be president.

The anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech is Wednesday but anniversary events began Saturday morning. Organizers expected about 100,000 people.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

US Moves to Block US Airways, American Airlines Merger.


Image: US Moves to Block US Airways, American Airlines Merger

The Justice Department and a number of state attorneys general on Tuesday challenged a proposed $11 billion merger between US Airways Group Inc. and American Airlines‘ parent company, AMR Corp.

The Justice Department says the deal would result in the creation of the world’s largest airline and that a combination of the two companies would reduce competition for commercial air travel in local markets and would result in passengers paying higher airfares and receive less service.

The federal government and the state attorneys general filed a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeking to prevent the companies from making the deal.

A spokesman for US Airways had no immediate comment. American Airlines did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Editor’s Note: ‘This Wasn’t an Accident’ — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown 

In February, the companies disclosed their plans to create a company with 6,700 daily flights and annual revenue of roughly $40 billion.

Were the deal to be approved, the four biggest U.S. airlines — American, United, Delta and Southwest — would all be the products of mergers that began in 2008. Those deals have helped the industry control seats, push fares higher and return to profitability.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the transaction between US Airways and American would result in “higher airfares, higher fees and fewer choices.”

Last year, business and leisure airline travelers spent more than $70 billion on airfare for travel throughout the United States.

American parent AMR Corp. has cut costs and debt since it filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2011. Pilots from both airlines have agreed on steps that should make it easier to combine their groups under a single labor contract, a big hurdle in many airline mergers.

The attorneys general were from Arizona, Florida, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Rivers Crisis: Evans Chindah Family Wants CJ Of Rivers Queried By The NJC.


Evans Chinda last seen a London hospital
By Saharareporters, New York

The family of the battered member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Michael Okechukwu Chindah, who is currently undergoing medical treatment in London, has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the “undue interference” of the Chief Judge, Justice Iche Ndu, in the matter.

According to a statement by Chief Evans Chindah, older brother of Hon Chindah, the family resorted to the petition against in order to ensure that justice is done in the case which, he said, the Amaechi Government is twisting to give the impression that his brother was at fault and deserved the violence that Hon Chidi Lloyd visited on him.

Chief Chindah said his family was particularly surprised and sad that instead of pursuing the course of peace, the Chief Judge and the governor do not want the case to go on, and that the Chief Judge is resorting to underground maneuverings to subvert the course of justice.
.
He alleged ‘glaring irregularities’ in the case since Hon Lloyd was brought to court, accusing the Chief Judge and the presiding Judge, Justice Letam Nyordee, of trying to defeat justice through the back door.

Hon Lloyd was brought to court on a six count charge of conspiracy, attempted murder and aggravated assault among others. Chief Chindah alleged that owing chiefly to the desperation of the Amaechi administration to take control of the case prematurely and free Hon Lloyd, the arraignment ran into a hitch for which the court adjourned the matter to 6th August, 2013 for ruling on the interlocutory argument of whether or not the police can engage a private counsel to
prosecute the accused person.

“Surprisingly and in a twist of fate, the Chief Judge, the presiding Judge and the State Government unknown to the defense counsel refixed the case to be heard again on the 31st of July, 2013 instead of the 6th of August,” he said.  “The court heard and ordered exparte that Hon Lloyd be produced in court by the police, knowing full well that the short notice was inappropriate. As predicted Hon Lloyd was not brought to court and we went home dejected.”

Chief Chindah further said he and members of their family are deeply tormented by “this shady development and the desperation of the Rivers State Government to discharge Hon Lloyd at all cost.

“This is evident from the premature scramble by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Mr Worgu Boms to take over the case even before proper arraignment as demonstrated on the first day of the trial,” he declared, pleading with the NJC to call the Rivers State Chief Judge and the presiding Judge to order as justice is not one way traffic.

“All sides to the case deserve justice and that is what our family is asking for and no more,” he said.

GOP Report Assails Holder on Investigations of Journalists.


House Republicans on Wednesday accused Attorney General Eric Holder of giving “deceptive and misleading testimony” to lawmakers when answering questions about the Justice Department‘s criminal probes of journalists, including Fox News’ James Rosen.

A 70-page report by the House Judiciary Committee said Holder sought to “circumvent proper congressional oversight and accountability by distorting the truth about the Justice Department’s investigative techniques targeting journalists,” Politico reports.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the GOP chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that Holder, now in his fifth year as attorney general, was failing at his job of running the department.

“I find the lack of leadership at the Department of Justice extremely alarming,” Goodlatte said in a statement. “The deceptive and misleading testimony of Attorney General Holder is unfortunately just the most recent example in a long list of scandals that have plagued the department.

The report — “Journalists or Criminals” — details a 2010 Justice investigation into Rosen, Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent.

The previous year, Rosen had reported on CIA warnings that North Korea was likely to respond to U.N. sanctions with more nuclear tests. This was based on a secret intelligence report issued to fewer than 100 government officials.

Justice officials obtained a search warrant — signed by Holder — and examined Rosen’s telephone records and emails. FBI agents even tracked his movements inside the State Department when he scanned his ID badge into the building’s security system.

In court documents, an FBI agent suggested Rosen “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in violating federal laws prohibiting the leaking of classified information.

And disclosure of the subpoena for such evidence was not to be revealed to Rosen or Fox News.

But Democrats on the Judiciary Committee defended Holder, saying he did not lie in his May 15 appearance before the panel, Politico reports.

“After months of oversight work, the minority staff report makes clear that Attorney General Eric Holder did not provide deceptive or misleading testimony to the Judiciary Committee, and cooperated fully with the investigation into his appearance before the Committee,” said ranking Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan in a report that cleared Holder of any wrongdoing.

Justice officials said the new report was nothing more than another partisan attack on Holder by House Republicans, many of whom have already called on the attorney general to resign over the failed Fast and Furious gun-running scandal.

“The report was produced on a purely partisan basis,” Brian Fallon, the department’s spokesman, told Politico. “Its purported findings are contrary to the record and strongly disputed by many of the committee’s own members.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Todd Beamon

Holder Signals New Push to Gain Control Over State, Local Voting Laws.


Image: Holder Signals New Push to Gain Control Over State, Local Voting Laws

The U.S. Department of Justice plans to ask a federal court to reinstate its authority over voting laws in Texas, part of a new Obama administration strategy to challenge state and local election laws it says discriminate by race, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.”Based on the evidence of intentional racial discrimination that was presented last year in the redistricting case, Texas v. Holder … we believe that the state of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices,” Holder told the annual conference of the National Urban League, a civil rights organization, which is meeting in Philadelphia.

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Repealed? Vote in Urgent National Poll 
The Obama administration has been searching for new ways to oppose voting discrimination since the U.S. Supreme Court in June invalidated a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

A 5-4 conservative majority on the high court ruled that a formula used to determine which states and localities were subject to extra federal scrutiny was outdated.

The ruling freed Texas and select other jurisdictions from having to submit their voting laws to the Justice Department before they could take effect.

The covered jurisdictions were mostly in the South, a region where officials had a history of denying minorities the right to vote. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the high court’s ruling that the South had changed dramatically.

Holder’s Justice Department had used the process known as “preclearance” to block, among other laws, a new plan for congressional district lines in Texas drawn after the 2010 U.S. Census. Government lawyers and civil rights groups convinced a court that the map, if it took effect, would have too few black and Hispanic districts.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, said after the Supreme Court ruling that the redistricting plan could then go into effect immediately.

State lawmakers ultimately approved a map that was deemed friendlier to minority populations, though state Democrats still criticize it.

As a first step in its new strategy, the Justice Department plans to make clear it supports a pending lawsuit that racial minorities brought against the redistricting plan in federal court in Texas.

If the court agrees the plan was racially discriminatory, then the Justice Department will ask the court to place Texas back in the preclearance process for an undetermined period of time, according to Holder’s prepared speech.

“This is the Department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last,” Holder, the first black U.S. attorney general, told the group.

The Supreme Court in its June ruling left in place the preclearance process and most other parts of the Voting Rights Act, invalidating only the formula for states and localities to be subjected automatically to extra scrutiny.

Some members of Congress have discussed passing a new formula that would comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling, but they have not done so.

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Repealed? Vote in Urgent National Poll 

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: NEWSmax.com

FOI: SERAP Drags FG To Court Over N700bn Expenditure.


Accountant-General of Nigeria, Jonah Otunla
By Adetokunbo Mumuni

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.

Signed
Adetokunbo Mumuni
SERAP Executive Director
21/7/2013
Lagos Nigeria
www.serap-nigeria.org
IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT
HOLDEN AT IKOYI

SUIT NO:

IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN

THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC
RIGHTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT (SERAP)        PLAINTIFF

AND

THE ACCOUNTANT GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION         DEFENDANTS

ORIGINATING SUMMONS
LET THE DEFENDANTS, Accountant General of the Federation and Attorney-General of the Federation at C/O Attorney–General of the Federation and Minister of Justice–Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Secretariat, Abuja, within 30 days after the service of this summons on them inclusive of the day of such service cause an appearance to be entered for them to this summons on the application of the Plaintiff for the determination of the following question:

(a)    Whether by virtue of the provision of section 4(a) of the freedom of information act 2011, the 1st defendant is under an obligation to provide the plaintiff with the information requested for.

AND THE PLAINTIFF CLAIMS AGAINST THE DEFENDANTS AS FOLLOWS:

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 relating to 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 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 requested including information on:

1.     The amount that has been spent from the N700bn borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013.
2.    Details of project on which this money was spent.

THIS SUMMONS was taken out by CHINYERE NWAFOR for the above – named Plaintiff.

The Defendants may appear hereto by entering appearance personally or by legal practitioner either by handing in the appropriate forms duly completed, at the Federal High Court Registry, or by sending them to that office by post.

Note:
If the Defendants do not enter appearance within the time and at the place above mentioned, such orders will be made and proceedings may be taken as the Judge may think just and expedient.

Dated this………………day of ……………….2013.

CHINYERE NWAFOR
SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT (SERAP),
4 AKINTOYE STREET IKEJA, LAGOS.
TEL: 08160537202
EMAIL: info@serap-nigeria.org
SOLICITORS TO THE PLAINTIFF
FOR SERVICE ON:

THE 1ST DEFENDANT
THE ACCOUNTANT-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION
TREASURY HOUSE,
LADOKE AKINTOLA BOULEVARD
5 ZARIA STREET
GARKI
ABUJA

THE 2ND DEFENDANT
C/O ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE
FEDERAL SECRETARIAT,
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF JUSTICE,
ABUJA.
IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT
HOLDEN AT IKOYI

SUIT NO:

IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN

THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC
RIGHTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT (SERAP)        PLAINTIFF

AND

THE ACCOUNTANT-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION
THE ATTORNEY- GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION        DEFENDANTS
AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF ORIGINATING SUMMONS

I, ADETOLA ADELEKE, male, Nigerian, Christian and litigation clerk of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) of 4 Akintoye Shogunle Street, Off John Olugbo Street, Off Awolowo Way, Ikeja,  Lagos do hereby MAKE OATH   and STATE as follows:

1.    That I am a Litigation Clerk of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the Plaintiff in this suit.

2.    That I have the consent and authority of the Plaintiff herein to depose to this affidavit.

3.    That by virtue of my position and the fact stated in paragraph 2 hereof, I am conversant with the facts of this case and with the facts deposed to herein.

4.    That the Plaintiff is a human rights non-governmental organization established in Nigeria and incorporated under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Decree, 1990. A copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of SERAP is attached herewith as EXHIBIT 1.

5.    That the Plaintiff seeks to promote transparency and accountability in government through human rights. A copy of the Constitution of the Plaintiff is hereby attached as EXHIBIT 2.

6.    That the Federal Government of Nigeria has enacted the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

7.    That in the pursuit of its mandate and pursuant to the right of access to information guaranteed by the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Plaintiff, by letter dated 27 May 2013, requested the 1st Defendant to provide it with up to date information relating to the spending of N700bn borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013 and details of projects on which the money was spent.

8.    But since the receipt of the request/application letter, and up till the filing of this suit, the 1st Defendant has so far failed, refused and/ or neglected to provide the Plaintiff with the details of the information requested for. Now produced, shown to me and marked EXHIBITS A and B are copies of the letter sent to the 1st Defendant and the evidence of receipt of the letter by the 1st Defendant.

9.    I was informed by Counsel to the Plaintiff and I verily believe him as follows:

(i)    By virtue of Section 1 (1) of the FOI Act 2011, the Plaintiff is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution.

(ii)    By the provisions of Section 2(7) and 31 of the FOI Act 2011, the 1st Defendant is a public institution.

(iii)    By virtue of Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or agency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the plaintiff with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.

(iv)    The information requested for by the Plaintiff relates to the information on the N700bn borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013 and details of projects on which this money was spent.

(v)    By Sections 2(3)(d)(i-vi), (e)(i-iii) & (4) of the FOI Act, a public institution is under a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing information relating to policies, factual reports, expenditure of public funds, names, salaries of officers and employees, and the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds by such an institution are widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means.

(vi)    The information requested for by the Plaintiff does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act.

(vii)    Up till the time of filing this action the 1st Defendant has failed, neglected and refused to make available the information requested by the Plaintiff. The particulars of facts of the failure, negligence and refusal are contained in the verifying affidavit in support of this application and shall be relied upon at the hearing of this application.

(viii)    The 1st Defendant has no reason whatsoever to deny the Plaintiff access to the information sought for.

(ix)    The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of National interest, public concern, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.

10.    That the information the Plaintiff requested for do not form part of      records compiled by the 1st Defendant for law enforcement purposes.

11.    That the 1st Defendant will not suffer any injury or prejudice if the information is released to the Plaintiff.

12.    That the information the Plaintiff requested for is not privileged in any way or manner.

13.    That the information the Plaintiff requested for do not concern any research material.

14.    That the information the Plaintiff requested for is not in respect of a scientific material, or matter kept in the National Museum or the National Library.

15.    That it is in the interest of the public that the information be released.

16.    That I was informed by Counsel to the Plaintiff and I verily believed him that in views of the above actions by the 1st Defendant, the Plaintiff has been denied access to the information requested for

17.    That unless the reliefs sought herein are granted, the 1st Defendant will continue to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act, and other statutory responsibilities

18.    That it is in the interest of justice to grant this application as the 1st Defendant have nothing to lose if the application is granted.

19.    That I make this declaration in good faith.
……………
DEPONENT

SWORN TO at the Federal
High Court Registry, Ikoyi
This………….day of …………………. 2013
BEFORE ME

COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS

IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT
HOLDEN AT IKOYI

SUIT NO:

IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN

THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC
RIGHTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT (SERAP)        PLAINTIFF

AND

THE ACCOUNTANT-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION         DEFENDANTS

WRITTEN ADDRESS IN SUPPORT OF ORIGINATING SUMMONS

1.0    INTRODUCTION
1.1.    This Written Address is filed on behalf of the Plaintiff and in support of this application.

1.2.    The main issue or thrust of this case touches on or concerns the binding-ness of the provisions of the FOI Act 2011 on the Defendants.

2.0    BACKGROUND FACTS

2.1.    The background facts in respect of this Application are well set out in the supporting affidavit of Adetola Adeleke. I humbly refer your Lordship to the said affidavit.

2.2             In the Application, the Plaintiff 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 relating to 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 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 requested including information on:

1.     The amount that has been spent from the N700bn borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013.

2.    Details of project on which this money was spent.

3.0 ARGUMENT OF THE SOLE ISSUE WHETHER BY VIRTUE OF THE PROVISION OF SECTION 4(a) OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2011, THE 1ST DEFENDANT IS UNDER AN OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE THE PLAINTIFF WITH THE INFORMATION REQUESTED

3.1     Sections 1(3) and 2(6) of the FOI Act 2011 confer upon an individual, who has a right of access to information under the Act, the right to institute proceedings in a court to compel any public institution to comply with the provisions of the Act when such an institution has failed, refused and or neglected to comply with the provisions of the Act by refusing or declining to give access to a record or information requested for.

3.2     In the case at hand, the Plaintiff through its letter dated 27th May, 2013 requested information as contained in the letter. Exhibit A has been received by the 1st Defendant, and Exhibit B is the acknowledgement of receipt of Exhibit A by the Defendant. However, the 1st Defendant has since the receipt of the request letter failed, refused and or neglected to provide the Plaintiff with the information it requested for.

3.4    By Section 4 of the FOI Act 2011, a public institution, to whom an application for access to information is made, is under an obligation to either supply the information requested for within 7 days of receipt of the application or communicate its notice of denial within 7 days of receipt of the application if it considers that the application should be denied.

3.5   Furthermore, Section 7(4) of the FOI Act provides that where the government or public institution to whom an application for access to information is made fails to give the plaintiff access to the information requested for within the time limit specified by the Act, the institution shall be deemed to have refused to give access.

3.6    By the provisions of Sections 2(7) and 31 of the FOI Act, the definition of a public institution includes the 1st Defendant. The 1st Defendant is a public institution within the meaning of the FOI Act and is bound to comply with the provision of Section 4 of the FOI Act.

3.7    By the provision of Section 20 of the FOI, the Plaintiff is entitled to apply to this Honorable Court for a judicial review of the matter within 30 days after the public institution denies or is deemed to have denied the request for information.

3.8    Since the 1st Defendant has failed to provide the information requested by the Plaintiff, within the time limit stipulated by the FOI Act, it is therefore deemed that he has, by that very fact, refused to give the Plaintiff access to the information requested for.

3.9    It is further submitted that the power or discretion to refuse to give access to information requested for cannot be exercised in vacuo. Such a power or discretion must be provided for by the FOI Act itself. This means, therefore, that a request for information can only be denied or turned down if the information requested is one which is exempted from disclosure under the provisions of the FOI Act.

3.10    In the case at hand, the information requested for by the plaintiff   relates strictly to the spending of N700bn borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30 2013.

3.11    By the clear provisions of Section 2(3)(d)(V) of the FOI Act 2011, 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. It is therefore, submitted that since the 1st Defendant has no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide the Plaintiff with the information requested for, this court ought to compel it to comply with the provisions of the Act as he is not above the law.
3.12    It is further submitted that the creation of a right of access to information by Section 1(1) of the FOI Act has imposed on the 1st Defendant and other public officials, institutions and agencies alike, a corresponding duty to give or provide any applicant, access to any public record or information in their custody when applied for by the latter. Therefore, the 1st Defendant must conform to the legally binding obligation imposed on him by Section 4(a) of the FOI Act.

3.13    It is submitted that Section 4(a) of the FOI Act 2011 is a mandatory and absolute provision which imposes a binding legal duty or obligation on a public official, agency or institution to comply with a request for access to public information or records except where the FOI Act expressly permits an exemption or derogation from the duty to disclose. The courts have consistently held that the use of mandatory words such as “must” and “shall” in a statute is naturally prima facie imperative and admits of no discretion. See ANIBI V. SHOTIMEHIN (1993) 3 NWLR (PT. 282) 461 @ 472 – 473. It is submitted that the use of the word “shall” in Section 4 of the FOI Act connotes that the provision is mandatory and must be complied with to the extent provided by the Act.

3.14    In GOVERNOR OF EBONYI STATE & ORS V. HON. JUSTICEISUAMA (2003) FWLR [PT. 169] 1210 @ 1227-1228, the Court of Appeal while stressing the need for public officials to obey rules of law held as follows:

“Obedience to the rule of law by all citizens but more particularly those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law. In a democratic society, this is meant to be a norm; it is an apostasy for government to ignore the provisions of the law and the necessary rules made to regulate matters”.
3.15    In the light of the exposition of the Court of Appeal above highlighted, it is submit that this honorable court ought to make an order compelling the 1st Defendant to comply with the provisions of the FOI Act by providing the Plaintiff with the information requested for by the latter.
4.0  CONCLUSION

4.1     In conclusion I most respectfully urge this court to grant leave to the Plaintiff to seek the reliefs claimed on the basis of the arguments advanced above, and the Application.

Dated this ………………… day of …………….. 2013

CHINYERE NWAFOR
SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT (SERAP),
4 AKINTOYE STREET IKEJA, LAGOS.
TEL: 08160537202
EMAIL: info@serap-nigeria.org
SOLICITORS TO THE PLAINTIFF
FOR SERVICE ON:

THE 1ST DEFENDANT
THE ACCOUNTANT-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION
TREASURY HOUSE,
LADOKE AKINTOLA BOULEVARD
5 ZARIA STREET
GARKI
ABUJA

THE 2ND DEFENDANT
C/O ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE
FEDERAL SECRETARIAT,
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF JUSTICE,
ABUJA.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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