A Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has ordered the Oshimili North Local Government Council in Delta State to disclose to a Lagos-based non-governmental organisation, NGO, Human Development Initiatives, HDI, the council’s budgets from 2012 to 2014 and the projects duly approved for implementation in 2013.
The court’s decision comes on the heels of a similar order issued by the same court on February 18, 2015 against two other councils in the state, Oshimili South and Ika South Local Government Areas, following a suit against them by HDI over their refusal to grant its request for the information made under the Freedom of Information Act on February 24, 2014.
Following three separate suits on May 15, 2014 by a Lagos lawyer, Mr. Andy Ogbolu, on behalf of HDI against Oshimili South, Ika South and Oshimili North councils, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Isola granted HDI leave on May 21, 2014 to apply for a declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the councils to disclose and make available to HDI the information sought in its letters of request dated February 24, 2014, amounts to a violation of HDI’s right of access to information as guaranteed by sections 1(1) and 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
The court also granted the group leavt to apply for a declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the councils to give HDI a written notice that access to all or part of the information requested would not be granted and stating reasons for the denial and the section of the FOI Act upon which the councils relied to deny HDI access to the information requested in its letters amounts to a flagrant violation of sections 4(b), 7(1), (2) and (3) of the Act and is therefore wrongful.
Ruling on the suits on February 18, Justice Olatoregun-Isola granted all the prayers sought against Oshimili South and Ika South councils.