Journalist Sues Niger Delta Basin Development Authority over Denial of FOI Request

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda July 17, 2019 23:15 Updated
Lezina Amegua, Member of MRA’s FOI Legal Response Network

Lezina Amegua, Member of MRA’s FOI Legal Response Network

A journalist, Mr. Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi, who reports for the Neighbourhoodnewspaper in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has sued the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) for failure to make available to him the information he requested  pursuant to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011.

Kelechji, in the case filed by Mr. Lezina Amegua, a member of MRA’s FOI Legal Response Network, in an originating summons at the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt is asking the Court to determine the following questions in the suit:

• Whether by the provision of section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, he is eligible to request and be so entitled to receive the information applied for by virtue of his application served on the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority.
• Whether by the stipulations of section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, the refusal, neglect and failure of Niger Delta Basin Development Authority to provide and or produce the information being so requested for within and after seven days of the receipt of same is not in violation of the said section.
• Whether the refusal and denial of the information so requested from the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority is not in breach of the provision of section 7 (5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011
• Whether the refusal, failure and neglect of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority to state the reasons by way of notice to Kelechi for its non-compliance to the request as stated is not in breach of the provision of section 4 (b) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011
The journalist is seeking the following reliefs:
a. A declaration that he is eligible to request and be so entitled to receive the information applied for by virtue of his application served on Niger Delta Basin Development Authority in accordance with section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
b. A declaration that the refusal, failure and neglect of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority to provide and produce information being so requested by him within and after seven days of its receipt of same is in violation of section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
c. A declaration that the refusal and denial of the information so requested within and after seven days on the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority is in breach of the provision of section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
d. A declaration that the refusal, failure and neglect of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority to state the reasons by way of notice for its non-compliance to the request of the journalist within and after seven days, is in breach of the provision of section 4(b) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
e. And for such orders or further orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.
The information sought by the journalist from the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 are:
1. The detailed budget of the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority for the year 2018.
2. The actual amount approved by the Federal Government as the budget for Niger Delta Basin
3. Development Authority for the year 2018.
4. The number of ongoing projects the Authority is currently executing, with details of their financial worth, locations and names of the contractors handling them.
5. The number of contractors on the payroll of the Authority
6. A list of the names of all the staff of the Authority, their States of origin and positions
7. The unspent amount, if any, remitted to the Federal Government by the Authority from the allocations it received as part of its budget in 2018.
The suit is being litigated under a sponsored project by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda July 17, 2019 23:15 Updated
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