IFEX Releases Toolkit for International Day to End Impunity Campaign Activities

The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), the global network of freedom of expression organisations, has released a toolkit to enhance members’ campaign activities around this year’s “International Day to End Impunity”.

Ms Annie Game, Executive Director IFEX

November 23 is designated the International Day to End Impunity.  November 23 was chosen as it is the anniversary of one of the most egregious acts of impunity 58 people were massacred in 2009 in Ammputuan, in the Philipines, including 32 journalists and media workers. None of the perpetrators have been brought to justice.

The kit provides IFEX members with helpful information about this year’s International Day to End Impunity campaign, including promotional materials as well as some ideas about how to raise the profile of the issue.  The IFEX Secretariat, based in Toronto, Canada, is encouraging IFEX members to adapt and share any of the texts, tools or resources it has provided for the campaign.

In the toolkit, IFEX urged its member organisations to take one or more of several actions including using and adapting its campaign materials; urging their media contacts to publish stories about impunity in November; take action, and get the word out to amplify IFEX collective voice by sharing the messages and actions within their own networks; writing  opinion pieces for publication; using and adapting International Day to End Impunity key facts and messages for their published communications; using the International Day to End Impunity talking points; and using the list of talking points when giving  interviews, among other things.

IFEX is also encouraging its member organisations to download and use the International Day to End Impunity logo by sharing it on their Twitter accounts and posting it on their  blogs or websites as well as using it as cover photo on Facebook throughout the campaign from 1 to 23 November.

The Network is also urging its members to use the Culture of Impunity Infographic, showing what supports a culture of impunity and its impact on society in their blog posts and websites.

It has also produced print-ready designs for T-shirts, pencils, stickers, buttons and posters which it is asking its members to use and share as they see fit.

IFEX is also urging its member organisations to embed an IFEX video on their websites, use it at events, email it to other interested organisations, post to their Facebook pages or screen it at their own International Day to End Impunity events.

The IFEX Toolkit to mark the International Day to end Impunity elaborates on all the activities that freedom of expression groups all over the world can adapt and possibly localize to draw attention and create awareness about the day.

The campaign to mark the International Day to end Impunity includes plans to progressively release its 23 Actions in 23 Days in which digital calls to action will be revealed each day from November 1 to 23, 2013.

IFEX has also called on the world to join the campaign and act to end impunity. It plans to use the the hashtags #IDEI, #23Nov and #EndImpunity in its social media campaign and also encouraged freedom of expression groups to use them.

The toolkit can be downloaded in full at IFEX Day to End Impunity toolkit

MRA’s Executive Director Calls on Youths, CSOs to Engage Internet Policy Issues

The Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Mr. Edetaen Ojo, has called on youths and civil society activists in Nigeria to improve their knowledge of Internet policy issues in order to effectively engage ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to regulate the Internet and online activities.

Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director Media Rights Agenda

Mr. Ojo spoke on September 20, 2013 at the 2013 Internet Freedom Forum held in Abuja by Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), a social enterprise that connects under-served youths with ICT opportunities to improve their livelihoods.

According to him, “one of the most significant global developments in the area of internet freedom over the last 16 months is the adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Council on July 5, 2012 of a Resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet.”

Mr. Ojo noted that in the very first paragraph of the Resolution, the Human Rights Council affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Saying that the subsequent two paragraphs of the resolution were also significant, he said Paragraph 2 recognizes “the global and open nature of the Internet as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms” while Paragraph 3 calls upon all States “to promote and facilitate access to the Internet and international cooperation aimed at the development of media and information and communications facilities in all countries.”

Mr. Ojo told participants, made up primarily of youths, students and representatives of civil society organizations, that a coalition of six countries, under the leadership of Sweden, submitted this Resolution on June 28, 2012 and lobbied others to support it and identified other members of the coalition as the United States, Brazil, Tunisia, Turkey and Nigeria.

Saying that the resolution has been adjudged a victory for the Internet and a victory for Internet users, Mr. Ojo however said:  “given recent statements by some senior government officials and given the recent actions of various government departments, agencies and officials, the question that naturally arises is whether the Nigerian Government truly believed in the ideals and principles outlined in the resolution when it co-sponsored it.”

He argued that having co-sponsored the Resolution, “Nigeria has, at the very least, a moral duty to live up to these standards that it wants us to hold the rest of the world to.”

Mr. Ojo therefore called on the participants and other Nigerians to “hold the Nigerian Government accountable to these standards.”

Observing that Section 37 of the Nigerian Constitution provides that “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected”, he asked:  “so what does it mean to say that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online?”

He wondered how the constitutional provision should be interpreted in the light of the Government’s attempt to put in place a communications surveillance system lacking in any sort of transparency, “particularly when we do not know the intention of this measure, we do not know the scope and we do not know whether there are any safeguards to protect the fundamental rights of citizens.”

Mr. Ojo also noted that at the moment, Nigeria has “a rash of Bills and other draft laws and regulations awaiting adoption either through the legislative process or through administrative processes that seek to regulate the Internet, the use of the Internet or other digital communication in Nigeria.”

He identified such draft instruments to include:

  • The Nigerian Communication (Amendment) Bill
  • The Interception and Monitoring Bill
  • The Regulation of Telecommunication Facilities to Support Investigations and Other Matters Connected Therewith
  • The Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Bill
  • Cyber-Security Bill
  • Electronic Commerce (Provision of Legal Recognition) Bill
  • Cyber Crime Bill
  • Draft Lawful Interception of Communications Regulation
  • A Bill for an Act to Provide for Interception, Development and Protection of Communications Networks and Facilities for Public Interest and Other Related Matters 2013.

Mr. Ojo argued that there appeared to be no policy framework guiding the draft instruments, adding that it was in fact “clear in some of them, that the texts of the bills were simply taken from other countries without due regard for the contexts and local conditions.”

Mr. Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director Paradigm Initiative Nigeria

He said: “Indeed, in some of the cases, the countries from which the laws were copied have since moved on and updated their legal frameworks.  Besides, in their present form, many of these instruments tend to invade privacy, repress freedom of expression online and violate other rights such as the right to fair hearing.”

Mr. Ojo observed that many people were yet to appreciate the negative effects of these instruments because they are still in the draft stage and are not yet being implemented, warning that by the time they are passed and enforcement begins, it would be too late.

He also argued that “since many ordinary citizens seem to be ahead of government in terms of their digital sophistication, these draft instruments, if passed, have the potential to hold the country back,” adding: “How can those who are behind seek to direct those who are ahead of them.”

Saying that the Government ought to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach to Internet regulation as is being done at the international level, he stressed that the critical issue at the moment is for Nigerians to upscale their capacity to engage the government and government agencies on issues of Internet regulation.

He urged the youths not just to preoccupy themselves with using social media but to take a serious interest in the policy issues which would preserve the free and open nature of the Internet and enable them to continue to enjoy its full benefits.

Mr. Ojo argued that the thrust of the engagement with Government could not possibly be that there should be no regulation whatsoever of the Internet or of the use of social media as such a position would not be tenable having regard to the present state of international human rights law and the Nigerian Constitution.

He insisted however that any attempt to regulate the Internet must confirm to the requirements of international human rights law both in terms of the circumstances under which regulation can occur and in the permissible scope of the regulation.

Mr. Ojo told the participants that they need to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to engage the regulatory process, whether initiated by the Executive or the Legislature, in order to ensure that its outcome conforms fully with international standards and norms.

Earlier, PIN’s Executive Director, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, explained that the Forum was part of an effort to provide a platform for youths to add their voices to the ongoing debate about Internet freedom and the future of the Internet as they stood the best chance of experiencing that future.

He said the Forum would also enable the participant to discuss what type of Internet they want and strategize on how to achieve it.

Mr. Sesan announced  that the Forum was also to initiative the process of developing an Internet Freedom Charter, a process that would continue online until the Charter is finalized and adopted.

MRA Convenes FOI Act Implementers Strategy Meeting to Improve Cooperation, Collaboration

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) convened a two-day Freedom of Information (FOI) Act Implementers Strategy Meeting last month in an effort to strengthen coordination and collaboration activities for the effective implementation of Nigeria’s 28-month old access to information law.

Ms Toyin Gabriel, UNDP/DGD II Media Expert

The meeting, held on September 16 and 17 at Jades Hotel in Abuja, was supported by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) II Project.

The meeting, which had 72 participants in attendance, brought together representatives of member organizations of the FOI Coalition, representatives of other organizations which though have never been members of the FOI Coalition, are engaged in FOI implementation activities; as well as lawyers who have litigated FOI cases and other lawyers interested in providing pro bono legal services within the framework of a Network of Lawyers that Media Rights Agenda is establishing around the country to assist citizens who are wrongfully denied access to information.

In a welcome address at the meeting, MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, noted that although some progress had been made with the various efforts by different organizations to popularize and enforce the Act, a lot of work remained to be done for the Act to realize its full potential.

He expressed the hope that everyone present at the meeting was ready and willing to contribute their “quota to a collaborative effort that will put us on a clear path to the realization of that objective.”

According to him, the primary aim of the meeting was to explore mechanisms for ensuring greater coordination, collaboration, as well as information, experience and skills sharing and exchange in FOI implementation activities.

Cross section of participants at the meeting

Mr. Ojo said MRA had tried to map the sector and focus on some critical areas that organizations present at the meeting were focusing on in their work or which ought to receive some focus.

He identified the different areas of focus as public enlightenment and sensitization activities; training and capacity-building activities; FOI monitoring and research activities; legal assistance and litigation; as well as other areas which would encompass those using the Act to simply request information; those involved in ongoing advocacy for policy and institutional reforms, the technology issues as they relate to the FOI Act, the application of the Act to gender issues and gender work, among others.

Mr. Ojo explained that the programme for the meeting had been “drafted with a strict focus on what we are meeting to do and the need to provide adequate time for issues to be discussed and for decisions to be made on the critical issues.”

He said the first day of the meeting would focus on trying to get a clear picture of who is doing what through a mapping of the sector, identifying the gaps and opportunities that exist and developing a framework for greater cooperation and collaboration.

According to him, the second day would be devoted to seeking to advance the collaborative framework by assessing the possibility of achieving such an objective  through a coalition strategy.

Ms Abiola Afolabi-Akiode at the meeting

Mr. Ojo said most of the discussions would focus on the status and future of the Nigerian FOI Coalition, adding that the meeting would take some critical decisions to re-energize and re-vitalize the coalition and accordingly enhance FOI implementation activities.

In his remarks at the meeting, the DGD II Project Director, Dr. Mourtada Deme, congratulated the FOI Coalition on its 13th year anniversary and commended “the hard work, determination and unity of purpose which you all brought to bear to ensure the passage of the FOI Act, 20ll.”

Represented by Mrs. Toyin Adewale-Gabriel, the Media Expert for the DGD II Project, Dr. Deme noted that despite the laudable work done by many of the participants since the FOI Act was passed two years ago, there remains  “a critical need to have a stakeholders’ mechanism to keep track of the results, challenges and lessons learned of the FOI Implementation in Nigeria.”

He called on members of the FOI Coalition “to collaborate more effectively by building on each other’s strengths and leverage opportunities, connections and resources” adding that “there is a need to develop a skilled knowledge base at the nexus of the FOI Implementation and to undertake work at states and grassroots levels where local communities who are not aware of the existence of the Act, have a right to know and need to know how to use the FOI Act to hold their elected officials accountable and to get the dividends of democracy – good roads, clean water, health centres – for sustainable human development.”

Dr. Deme expressed the hope that the FOI Coalition will be reenergized with a new passion and commitment to launch its second phase and become a strong coordination mechanism, monitoring and keeping the implementation of the FOI Act on track and working at national, states and local government levels where they can begin to see results in improved livelihoods of ordinary citizens.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the DGD II Project and its international partners to support the successful implementation of the FOI Act in Nigeria.

Presentations were made at the meeting on: “Overview of the Challenges of Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011”; “Historical Background and Current Status of the Freedom of Information Coalition”, and “Building an Effective Coalition for Civil Society Engagement.”

Working plenary and break-out sessions, the meeting also discussed and agreed on various strategies improving coordination and collaboration among organizations carrying out FOI implementation activities as well as for enhancing the effectiveness of the FOI Act. 

Based on discussions at the meeting, a committee was constituted to develop a framework for restructuring the FOI Coalition.

MRA Begins Mentoring of CSOs on Using the FOI Act

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has launched a project to mentor selected civil society organizations from across the country on the use of the Freedom of Information Act to improve their ability to use the Law and enhance their effectiveness.

The objective of the programme, which is being implemented with support from the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) II Project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is to enable the selected organizations to better appreciate the potency of the Act, identify various ways in which it can be applied to enhance their work, and ultimately mainstream the Act into their activities such that it becomes a tool which they routinely and regularly use to seek information from public institutions and private bodies covered by the Act in the course of their work.

The DGD II Project is a joint donor-funded project managed by UNDP in support of deepening democracy in Nigeria and is funded with contributions from the European Union, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Korea International Cooperation Agency and UNDP.

The mentoring programme is expected to create a multiplier effect in the usage of the Act as representatives of the selected organizations that have participated in the programme would be required to actively share their knowledge with colleagues within their organizations as well as  partner organizations, to engender more widespread use of the Law by civil society organizations across the country.

Under the pilot phase of the project, which is commencing this October, MRA has selected two organizations from each of the six geo-political zones of the country to participate in the programme.

Ms Jennifer Onyejekwe, Media Rights Agenda Deputy Executive Director

Explaining the rationale for the project, MRA’s Deputy Executive Director, Ms Jennifer Onyejekwe said: “We are dissatisfied with the fact that the FOI Act is currently being used mostly by civil society organizations with activist credentials.  We believe that it is an important tool which all CSOs should be using routinely and regularly in their work but unfortunately, many CSOs are yet to take advantage of this powerful piece of legislation. We are therefore implementing this project as a way of helping the selected organizations see the immense benefits that the Act can bring to their work, including enhancing their effectiveness.”

According to Ms Onyejekwe, “we feel that it is imperative that civil society groups working in areas of transparency and accountability, democratic governance and sustainable development in particular should be mentored in order to use the law more effectively to access information needed in carrying out their mandates.”

The project is being executed in four phases.

Under the first phase, MRA will conduct an  assessment of each of the selected organizations to determine their current level of usage of the Act, if any; their current projects and activities for which the deployment of the Act may be relevant or necessary; the types of information that they require in the course of their work; the various public institutions that they routinely engage with in the course of their work and those public institutions which may hold the information that each of the organizations requires; the potential and opportunities for each of the organizations to use the FOI Act in various aspects of their work; among other issues.

This will be followed by a second phase during which MRA will conduct an intensive training exercise on the FOI Act for the representative of the 12 selected organizations.  The training, which will have theoretical and practical aspects, will aim to give  the participants with a conceptual understanding of what freedom of information is and why it is important; and familiarize them with the key provisions and features of the FOI Act, how to make requests for information under the Act; compliance and enforcement mechanisms available to users of the Act; as well as other issues.  The training will also include practical sessions and exercises on drafting requests for information relevant to the different areas of work of the selected organizations.

During the third phase of the project, beginning immediately after the training exercise, MRA personnel will, over several months, provide ongoing technical support and assistance to all participating organizations in drafting requests for information and in resolving other relevant challenges that they may have, including where they are denied access to information by public institutions. The technical support will be provided both remotely and through physical visits by MRA personnel to each of the participating organizations to ascertain progress made, any lingering challenges they may have and to provide additional hands-on assistance as they may require. This will also include providing training for other members or staff of the selected organization wherever this is necessary or required.

Under the fourth phase of the project, MRA will develop and produce sector-specific “Guidelines for Using the Freedom of Information Act” for each of the selected organizations to provide guidance to them and their partner organizations working in the same sectors on how to use the FOI Act much more effectively in their areas of work.  The Guidelines will identify and list the likely public institutions that each organization will need to engage with in seeking information, based on the sector in which it is working.  It will also identify and list the likely types of information, records and documents that will be relevant to each organization and the public institutions that are likely to hold such information.

The Guidelines will also contain a step-by-step guidance on how the organizations can use the FOI Act to request and obtain such information from the relevant public institutions and private entities covered by the Act.

2013 AFIGF Advocates Involvement of Non-Governmental Stakeholders in Internet Policy Processes

Internet governance stakeholders rose from a four-day Africa Internet Governance Forum (AFIGF) in Nairobi, Kenya, last month with a call on African Governments to involve representatives from non-governmental stakeholders in preparatory processes for regional and international policy forums and include them in their delegations to such events.

Cross Section of the High Table

In a detailed communiqué adopted at the end of the second annual face-to-face meeting, the forum commended governments that have shown leadership in opening up policy processes to participation from other stakeholders and urged them to continue to do so and ensure such processes are sustained over the longer term.

 The participants called on those governments that have not yet adopted such an approach to do so while also urging them to allocate resources in national and departmental budgets to facilitate and support public participation in the processes.

They also canvassed the involvement of all relevant departments and levels of government, including at the provincial and local levels, in Internet policy formulation processes.

The forum was held from September 23 to 26, 2013 at the Multimedia University of Kenya. In addition to hundreds of remote participants, the forum had 195 Internet Governance stakeholders from 29 countries physically in attendance.   The forum, which was held under the theme:  “Building Bridges – Enhancing Multi-stakeholder Cooperation for Growth and Sustainable Development”, had participants from governments, the private sector, civil society, regional and international organizations.

The forum stressed that public participation in ICT policy processes should be open to all stakeholders and their engagement encouraged and equally valued, adding that “the purpose, goals, and modalities of the processes should be agreed by stakeholders from the outset and each should come to the process with a willingness to work towards consensus.”

It also recommended that public participation in policy processes should be formalised at legislative or constitutional level, as is already the case in Kenya and South Africa, emphasizing that “consultation should occur at the early stages of policy making thereby improving buy-in and implementation.”

The forum advised stakeholder groups to strengthen their deliberative structures and processes so as to more effectively engage at multi-stakeholder levels, adding that they should be accountable and transparent and report back to their constituencies.

It also recommended that documents, proceedings, and submissions should be open and readily available to the public throughout the process to enable stakeholders to assess whether their inputs have been taken into account.

Young people were advised to participate in multi-stakeholder processes and seek inclusion where they have not been explicitly invited while universities and student organisations were urged to take account of and be involved in ICT development and policies.

Prime Minister of Ethiopia and AU Chairman, Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn

The forum called on regional institutions, including the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC), to actively engage with non-governmental stakeholders on ICT public policy issues, particularly those relating to infrastructure development.

It implored the business community to participate in multi-stakeholder policy dialogues and forums and called on business associations to play a leadership role in facilitating such participation, adding that where such associations do not exist, the business community should establish them.

Members of civil society were advised to ensure that their participation reflects the diversity of civil society, and includes non-ICT specific groups such as traditional leaders and human rights and faith-based organizations.  They were also urged to continue to convene and self-organise to build their knowledge and develop common positions on policy issues, when possible.

The forum observed that the media, including community media, public and state media, commercial media and social media are key to raising public awareness about ICT policy, and should therefore be active participants in ICT policy processes.

It recommended the development and use of “scorecards” to monitor and assess the progress being made by governments and other stakeholders towards achieving the principles of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) on participation and inclusion of all stakeholders as contained in the Geneva Plan of Action, as well as substantive goals included in the WSIS Action Lines.

Participants at the African Internet Governance Forum

Such scorecards, it said, can be based on indicators for use throughout Africa, and can be customized to national contexts.  It proposed the adoption of WSIS-related scorecards to measure progress on adhering to the WSIS principles to complement reporting on implementing WSIS goals, and factored into existing national, sub-regional, and Africa-wide multi-stakeholder processes, including the IGF process.

The forum encouraged the establishment of Internet Exchange Points at national and regional levels, saying there should be dedicated national network infrastructures that can connect the government, industry and research community for the benefit of promoting open knowledge engagement, open data system for researchers, innovation, end-users and researchers’ synergy and IT development

It described “digital inclusion” as a necessity for Africa’s development with huge advantages to nations such as enhancing citizenship integrations, global competiveness, government revenues, national integrity, human development, as well as skills and knowledge sharing and transfer.

It observed that in the current definition of sovereignty, nations that are not technologically sovereign are not considered sovereign.

The forum therefore suggested that there should be National Policy Guidelines and Regulatory frameworks on Digital Inclusion and Integration that must address the following core essentials, namely: stakeholders’ participation, data protection with legal framework, digital independence, adequate digital literacy infrastructural framework, government direct intervention through her respective institutions; and mainstream cross-network synergies in the roll out of national Internet infrastructure.

The forum also addressed the issue of security, particularly the necessity of legal and other frameworks for addressing the problems of spam, hacking and cyber-crime.

It proposed frameworks at national levels for the development of national Computer Emergency Readiness Team ecosystems.

It recommended the convening of capacity building workshops for relevant stakeholders; the identification of aspects of policies that need to be changed to make legislation more supportive of online freedoms; the establishment of common understanding on what should be considered a cyber crime at the regional level; investment in relevant cyber-security research and development; enhancing the capacity of legislators and law enforcement agencies in cyber-security; and sensitization of parent and users on the emerging security issues of cyber space.

Participants at the Forum

The forum suggested encouraging the exchange of experience between different African regional organizations; harmonizing the national and sub-regional policies with the regional AU Cyber-security Convention; raising awareness and spurring multi-stakeholder conversations on the importance of protecting internet rights the way human rights have always been protected and promoted; establishing an effective mechanism to protect children from the risks and rapid intervention to protect children; adopting and ratifying relevant legislative instruments on cyber-security; and taking into consideration the evolving nature of the Internet and cyber-security in the development and application of legislative instruments.

On the issue of human rights, freedom of expression and free flow of information on the Internet, the forum recommended following up and implementing recent resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council and the interpretive statement on human rights and the Internet made by the UN Human Rights Committee; encouraging states to reinforce press freedom; establishing minimum regulations to guarantee freedom expression as well as discouraging defamation; encouraging all stakeholders to join forces to uphold a free and open Internet; adopting a multi-stakeholder approach in Internet policy regulation; and upholding fundamental human rights and their applicable principles in the development of national and regional Internet policies.

The forum suggested that African Governments be encouraged to adopt and use Open Source Solutions with clear policy support and political will while also building the capacity to manage and create African Open Source ICT solutions.

It called for the extension of broadband Internet connections to rural areas in Africa

NGO Appeals Federal High Court Ruling Calling on National Assembly to Amend FOI Act

Lagos-based non-governmental organization, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), has appealed against the ruling of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja calling on the National Assembly to amend the Freedom of Information Act to limit those who can request information under the Law.

In a four-ground “Notice of Appeal” lodged at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, PIN is asking the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of Justice Kolawole and send the case back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for assignment to and hearing by another Judge.

In the ruling, which he delivered on July 3, 2013, Justice Kolawole refused to grant leave to PIN to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, to disclose to it detailed information on the multi-million dollar contract awarded by the Presidency in April 2013 to an Israeli company, Elbit Systems, to monitor internet communication in Nigeria.

The Stop Impunity Nigeria (S.I.N.) Campaign is challenging the ruling on behalf of Paradigm Initiative through one of its member organizations, the Centre for Social Justice (CENSOJ).  The grounds of appeal filed by Mr. Kingsley Nnajiaka of CENSOJ, are that:

  • Justice Kolawole erred in law when he refused to grant PIN’s Motion Ex-Parte for leave to apply for an order of mandamus because at that stage of the proceedings, all the organization needed to do was to establish a prima facie case, but the judge went ahead to decide the substantive case at the interlocutory stage.
  • The judge erred in law byfishing for extraneous materials that would fetter its discretion”; in deciding that Paradigm Initiative was a “busybody”; in taking into consideration the fact that Mr. Edward Snowden leaked official secret information in the United States; in suggesting an amendment to Section 1(2) of the FOI Act; and by refusing to apply the provisions of Section 1(2) of the Act even before such an amendment.
  • The judge violated PIN’s constitutional right to fair hearing by raising, on his own, the issue of the capacity in which Dr. Abati was sued without giving PIN the opportunity to be heard on the issue. The organization is also complaining that the judge held that Dr. Abati was not involved in the contract which constitutes the subject matter of the application even without hearing from PIN; that the judge held that the office of Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity was not a public office, body or authority amenable to the prerogative order of mandamus notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 151 and 152 of the Constitution; and that the judge did not invite PIN to address it on the issue of the capacity of Dr. Abati and if possible take advantage of Order 34 Rule 3(3) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009.
  • The judge erred in law when he held that Paragraph (iii) of the Statement filed  by PIN merely stated that Dr. Abati is a Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity but did not state that Dr. Abati “in that capacity was being sued as the one who awarded the contract in issue”.  It argued that requests for information are made to custodians of public records not the public officers who participated in the activity in issue; that Dr. Abati is a public officer, a fact which is judicially noticeable by the court; and that Dr. Abati did not deny that he had custody of the information sought by PIN.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the appeal.