By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
AN Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, before a Federal High Court, Abuja, urging the court to compel the electoral body to account for the N87 billion given to it for conduct of the 2011 general elections.
Besides, Mr. Obono-Obla is seeking a mandatory order of injunction directing INEC to furnish the plaintiff with comprehensive and detailed information concerning the national biometric data base of voters’ register.
In the Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/ /2011, which was made available to Vanguard in Calabar, Cross River State, the plaintiff also prayed the court to compel INEC to furnish him with a detailed, comprehensive and fair statement of account of expenditure incurred by the commission for the conduct of the said 2011 elections.
He also prayed the court to compel INEC to make available, the list of contractors awarded contracts concerning printing of ballot papers; voters’ cards and other documents concerning the conduct of the 2011 elections in the country.
In the reliefs sought by the plaintiff, he wants to know whether, by a true interpretation and construction of Section 5 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, the defendant (INEC) was not to allow the plaintiff unfettered access to information concerning the national biometric database of voters register.
The plaintiff also wants the court to determine whether failure by the commission to provide all the information sought above is not tantamount to an infringement of the provisions of Sections 5 (a) and 8 (1) of the FOI Act (supra).
He, however, wants the court to declare that the refusal, failure and or neglect by the defendant to release the information as requested above amounted to a violation of Section 8 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act (supra) and therefore was wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional.
Obono-Obla prayed the court to issue an order directing the defendant to pay a fine of N500, 000 for the wrongful denial of the right of access to the information sought.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the matter as it was filed few days before the court observed public holidays for the Christmas period.