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Nigeria: Group sues FG over N700b expenditure
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By Luke Ajulo
July 21, 2013 19:09:07pm GMT      |      Views: 443
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WorldStage Newsonline—A nongovernmental agency, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a suit against the Federal Government over its failure to provide information on the spending of the N700 billion borrowed between December 31, 2012 and April 30, 2013.

In the suit Number FHC/L/CS/978/13 filed at  the Federal High Court, Ikoyi , under the Freedom of Information (FOI), the group is also asking government to provide information on  details of projects on which this money was spent.

 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.

In the suit, the group  is seeking two 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.

It also sought a court declaration that the failure of first Defendant to provide the Plaintiff with the information requested is a breach of section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information 2011.

The group is also seeking an order of mandamus  directing and/or compelling the first Defendant to provide the Plaintiff with up to date information as requested.

According to the group, “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 first 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 group  further argued that the first 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.

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