Journalist Sues CBN over  Information About Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement 

Uche Amulu, Member of Media Rights Agenda’s FOI Legal Response Network
Uche Amulu, Member of Media Rights Agenda’s FOI Legal Response Network

A veteran journalist, Mr. Oseyiza Ogbodo, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disclose to him detailed information about the Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement (BCSA) between the Apex bank and the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) as required by the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act

In the suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/438/2020, Oseyiza sued the Central Bank of Nigeria, Governor of the Central Bank and the Attorney General of the Federation over the refusal of the Apex bank to respond to his letter of request for information in respect of the BCSA.

Oseyiza had earlier sent a letter dated February 26, 2020, to CBN requesting it and its Governor to furnish him with information about the BCSA agreement. The journalist said while he got a response on March 9, 2020, that the information was being processed, the Central Bank ultimately failed to provide the required information he requested.

The requested information, according to him, include full details of the Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement; the expected benefits of the deal to the  Nigerian economy; the volume of trade carried out by Nigerians regarding the BCSA between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019, as well as the benefits of the deal to ordinary Nigerians.

He added that the failure of the  Central  Bank and its Governor to respond within seven days appropriately was a denial and a violation of his right of access to information as well as a breach of Section 6 of the Freedom of Information Act adding that the Bank as a public institution as recognised under Sections 2 (7)  and 31 of the Freedom of Information Act, ought to provide the requested information because they relate to issues of social justice, good governance and accountability.

Oseyiza also urged the court to compel the Attorney General of the Federation to initiate criminal proceedings against the Central Bank and its Governor for wrongful denial of access to information which is punishable under Section 7 (5) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

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