Journalist  Sues NDDC for Denial of Access to Information

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda July 18, 2019 08:02 Updated
Lezina Amegua,  MRA’s FOI Legal Response Network

Lezina Amegua, MRA’s FOI Legal Response Network

A journalist, Mr. Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi, who reports for  the Neighbourhoodnewspaper has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt against the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)  over the Commission’s refusal to accede to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request he made. Joined as a respondent in the suit is the Attorney General of the Federation.
The Journalist requested the following information:
1. The detailed budget of the Commission for the year 2019.
2. The total sum handed over to the present Board of NDDC by the immediate past Board.
3. The amount of debts inherited by the present Board of NDDC from the previous Board.
4. The number and details of abandoned projects inherited by the present Board of the NDDC from the previous Board
5. The number of ongoing projects the Commission is currently executing, with details of their financial worth, locations and names of the contractors handling them.
6. The number of contractors on the payroll of the Commission.
7. A list of the names of staff of the Commission, their States of origin and positions.
8. The specific empowerment programmes carried out by the Commission since the inception of the current Board.
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, Kelechi is seeking the following reliefs:
k. 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 the Niger Delta Development Commission in accordance with section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
l. A declaration that the refusal, failure and neglect of the Niger Delta Development Commission 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.
m. A declaration that the refusal and denial of the information so requested within and after seven days by the Niger Delta Development Commission is in breach of the provision of section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011
n. A declaration that the refusal, failure and neglect of the Niger Delta Development Commission to state the reasons by way of notice for its non-compliance to the his request within and after seven days, is in breach of the provision ofsection 4(b) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
o. 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 he applied for by virtue of his application served on the Niger Delta Development Commission.
2. Whether by the stipulations of section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, the refusal, neglect and failure of the Niger Delta Development Commission 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.
3. Whether the refusal and denial of the information so requested from the Niger Delta Development Commission 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 Niger Delta Development Commission to state the reasons by way of notice to him 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 08:02 Updated
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