Journalist Sues  Local Government Council over Denial of FOI Request

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda July 18, 2019 08:01 Updated

law 6Mr. Nelson Asieyemia, a journalist with Truth magazine in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has sued the Obio/ AkporLocal Government Council for its failure to make available to him the information he requested pursuant to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011.
The Journalist requested the following information:
1. The budgetary allocations received by Obio/Akpor Local Government Area in 2018 and 2019.
2. The amount paid monthly in salaries and allowances to the staff of the local government in 2018 and 2019.
3. Names of all staff of the local government and their designations.
4. Projects executed by the local government, with details of the amounts expended on each of them and their locations, in 2018 and 2019.
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, Nelson is seeking the following reliefs:
f. A declaration that he is eligible to request and be so entitled to receive the information he applied for by virtue of his application served on Obio/Akpor local government in accordance with section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
g. A declaration that the refusal, failure and neglect of the Obio/Akpor local government 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.
h. A declaration that the refusal and denial of the information so requested within and after seven days by the Obio/Akpor local government is in breach of the provision of section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
i. A declaration that the refusal, failure and neglect of the Obio/Akpor local government to state the reasons by way of notice for its non-compliance to his request within and after seven days, is in breach of the provision of section 4(b) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
j. And for such orders or further orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.
Nelson is also asking the Court to determine the following questions in the suit:
1. 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 Obio/Akpor local government.
2. Whether by the stipulations of section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, the refusal, neglect and failure of the Obio/Akpor local government to provide and or produce the information being so requested for within and after seven (7) days of the receipt of same is not in violation of the said section.
3. Whether the refusal and denial of the information so requested from the Obio/ Akpor local government is not in breach of the provision of section 7 (5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
4. Whether the refusal, failure and neglect of the Obio/Akpor local government to state the reasons by way of notice to the applicant 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 suit is being litigated under a sponsored project by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda July 18, 2019 08:01 Updated
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