Law News
APC Chieftain Drags Alison-Madueke to Court over Failure to Comply with FOI Act
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke

A member of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja against  the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, for refusing  to give him the information he requested under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

Okechukwu had written the minister requesting information concerning Nigeria’s crude oil swap variant and the certification of subsidy for the importation of kerosene and petrol into the country by the Nigerian National Petroleum. Corporation (NNPC) from January 2012 to date.

The minister however ignored the letter and refused to release the information sought.

Following the minister’s refusal to comply with the provisions of the FoI Act 2011, Okechukwu approached the court seeking for, amongst other reliefs, the declaration that the minister’s refusal to release the information he requested for amounted to a violation of section 7 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act, and therefore, wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional.

He pointed out that as a public servant,  Mrs. Alison Madueke was obligated to furnish him the information he requested  since March, over six months ago.

He said  his application requesting for the information was duly served on the minister on March 20 through DHL courier service and that in breach of Section 4 of the Act, which provided that if the public institution considered that the application should be denied, the institution should give a written notice to the applicant that access to all or part of the information would not be granted, stating reasons for the denial and the section of the FoI Act under which the denial was made.

He said the minister completely ignored and neglected his request for the information.

Okechukwu therefore asked the Court to make an order directing the minister to pay the sum of N5,000 as penalty for wrongful denial of  information as well as N1 million in general damages.

Yesterday, his lawyer, Mrs. Justina Obono-Obla, told the court that her client sought a judicial review by way of mandamus to compel the minister to comply with his request and release the information being sought.

Thereafter, the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, fixed ruling on the application for today.

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