Journalist Sues the President of the Nigeria Football Federation for Denial of FOI Request

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda August 11, 2019 13:53 Updated
Ebuka Aneke-Agu, Member of Media Rights Agenda’s (MRA) FOI Legal Response Network

Ebuka Aneke-Agu, Member of Media Rights Agenda’s (MRA) FOI Legal Response Network

A journalist, Ms Godsgift Onyedinefu, who works with Global Sentinel has instituted legal proceeding against the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over its refusal to provide her with information she requested pursuant to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011. The Attorney General of the Federation is joined as a party in the suit.

The case was filed by Ebuka Aneke-Agu, a member of Media Rights Agenda’s (MRA) FOI Legal Response Network, at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

The suit is seeking the court for the following reliefs:

  1. A declaration that Ms Onyedinefu is entitled to receive the information she applied for from the President of the Nigeria Football Federation having made a written application dated June 3, 2019 and which the President of the Nigeria Football Federation received on June 17, 2019.
  2. A declaration that the failure and/or refusal of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation to make available to Ms Onyedinefu the information applied for via the journalist’s letter dated June 3, 2019 is wrongful, unlawful and amounts to a gross violation of her right of access to information established and guaranteed by Sections 1(1) and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  3. A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation to make available to Ms Onyedinefu the information she applied for in her letter dated June 3, 2019 amounts to a refusal to give access to information under Section 7 (4) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  4. A declaration that the failure and/or refusal of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation to give written notice to Ms Onyedinefu stating the reasons for the denial of the information sought and requested is wrongful, unlawful and constitutes a gross violation of Section 4 (b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
  5. An order of the Court to compel the President of the Nigeria Football Federation to make available to Ms Onyedinefu the information applied for within seven days of the judgment of the Court.
  6. An order directing the Attorney General of the Federation to initiate criminal proceedings against the Ministry and its Honourable Minister for wrongful denial of access to information under Section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  7. The Sum of N1,000,000.00 (One Million Naira) only as exemplary and aggravated damages for the unlawful violation of the journalist’s right of access to information established and guaranteed by Sections 1(1) and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 and wrongful denial of access to information under Section 7(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

The Suit arose from a letter written by Godsgift Onyedinefu on June 3, 2019 and received on June 17, 2019 to the President of the Nigeria Football Federation pursuant to the FOI Act, seeking the following information:

  1. A list of Nigerian footballers and coaches who travelled to Russia for the 2018 World Cup and whose travel expenses (including flights, accommodation, visa costs, living expresses and other allowances) were covered by the Nigeria Football Federation and/or through public funds.
  2. A list of supporters (other than government officials) who travelled to Russia for the 2018 World Cup to cheer the Nigerian team and whose travel expenses (including flights, accommodation, visa costs, living expenses and other allowances) were covered by the Nigeria Football Federation and/or through public funds, either in part or in full.
  3. A list of government officials and their aides or assistants (including the designations of everyone on the list and the public institutions to which they are affiliated) who travelled to Russia for the 2018 World Cup whose travel expenses (including flight, accommodation, visa costs, living expense and other allowances) were covered by the Nigeria Football Federation and/or through public funds, either in part or in full.
  4. The duration of each person’s stay in Russia, including the date of departure from Nigeria (or other point of departure) and the date of return to Nigeria (or to some other location) as well as the total cost of each person’s travel to Russia to the Nigeria Football Federation for all aspects of the trip for which the Nigeria Football Federation was responsible.
  5. The total cost to the Nigeria Football Federation or the total amount budgeted by the Nigeria Football Federation for its participation and the participation of others sponsored by it in the Russia 2018 World Cup.
  6. Whether budgetary allocation for Nigeria Football Federation’s participation in the Russia 2018 World Cup as well as the participation of those who were sponsored by the Nigeria Football Federation, including the total cost referred to in Paragraph 5 above, were provided for and approved in the 2018 Appropriation Act of the Federal Government and to specify the head of expenditure to which the costs were charged.
  7. The sources of fund and the amount from each source received by the Nigeria Football Federation relating to its participation in the Russia 2018 World Cup.
  8. Details of other in-kind sponsorship and partnership received by the Nigeria Football Federation to participate in the Russia 2018 World Cup, including the coverage of each partnership or sponsorship.
  9. The total amount that the Nigeria Football Federation earned from its three-and-half- year partnership with Nike since the beginning of the deal in 2015 till date.

The suit is litigated under a sponsored project by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). No date has been fixed for hering in the case.

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda August 11, 2019 13:53 Updated
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