Court Fixes Date for Hearing in FOI Case Against Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator  

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda June 21, 2019 22:35 Updated

download (1)A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has fixed June 26, 2019 for hearing in a Freedom of Information (FOI) case filed against Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator by a journalist, Mark Lenu. Joined as a defendant in the suit is the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)

In the suit filed pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2011, Mark prayed the Court for resolution of the following questions:

  • Whether he is entitled to the information he applied for from Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator pursuant to section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, his application having been received by the institution on the April 9, 2019.
  • Whether the failure or refusal of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator to make available to him the information he requested within seven days of receiving the application is not a violation of his  right, guaranteed by section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • Whether the failure or refusal of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator to make available to him the information he applied for, within seven days of receiving the application does not amount to wrongful denial of access to information  under section  7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • Whether the failure of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator to give written notice to him stating the reason for the denial of the information applied for by him is not a violation of his right guaranteed by section 4 (b) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

Mark also sought some reliefs against Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator including:

  • A Declaration that the he is entitled as of right to receive the information he applied for from Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator having made a written application, and they having received the same request on April 9, 2019.
  • A Declaration that the failure and/or refusal of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator to make available to him the information he applied for in his letter to them is wrongful, unlawful and amounts to a gross violation of his right of access to Information established and guaranteed by Sections 1(1), and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator to make available to him the information he applied for in his letter to them amounts to wrongful denial of access to information under section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • A Declaration that the failure and/or refusal of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator to give written notice to him stating the reason for the denial of the information sought and requested is wrong, unlawful and constitute a gross violation of Section 4 (b) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • An Order of the Court on Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator to make available to him a hard copy of information requested within seven days of the judgment of the Court.
  • An Order of Court on the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator to make available to him the information he applied for through his email: marklenu15@gmail.com within seven days of the judgment of the Court.
  • An Order directing the AGF to initiate criminal proceedings against Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project and its Project Coordinator for the offence of wrongful denial of access to information under Section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • Award of the Sum of N1, 000.000.00 (One Million Naira) only, as exemplary and aggravated damages for the unlawful violation of his right of access to Information established and guaranteed by Sections 1(1) and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 and for wrongful denial of access to information under Section 7 (4) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • Any such orders or further orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.

Mark had written to Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project requesting for detailed information of the contracts awarded in 2017 and 2018 for Ogoni Clean Up. The agency failed to respond to the letter despite the fact that it was received and acknowledged. Mark thereafter,, through his lawyer, Kingdom Chukwuezie Esq. of the law firm of Dace-Law Attorney & Partner approached the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division on May 6, 2019 for the review of the agency’s denial.

The suit is litigated under Media Rights Agenda’s Project funded by Open Society Initiatives for West Africa (OSIWA).

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda June 21, 2019 22:35 Updated
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