By Prince Okafor
FOLLOWING a request by human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana for information on the proposed review of pump price of petroleum products, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has turned down the request.
In a response letter by its General Manager, Litigation, Arbitration and Property law department, Mrs Sarah Ndukwu, NNPC said Falana’s request will not serve any public interest.
The statement reads in part: “The NNPC thus, is neither a legislative, executive, judicial, administrative nor an advisory body of the Government; it is a statutory corporation established for the sole purpose of managing Nigeria’s commercial interest in the oil and gas sector and conducting trade in that respect.
“This position was affirmed in many cases including the two cases instituted by Messrs. Public and private Development Center Limited in suit Nos. FHC/ABJ/CS/278/2013 an FHC/ABJ/279/2013, which resulted in the striking out of suits in December 2013.
“Be informed that even if the FOIA applies to NNPC (which is strongly in your letter is expressed excluded from the purview of the Act by virtue of Section 15(1)(a)-(c) thereof.
“The requested information is in the nature of commercial, financial and trade secrets information, which obviously are either subject to Non-disclosure agreements or whose disclosure could reasonably interferes with NNPC’s existing contractual obligation s or harm third parties interests.
“In fact by the use of the word shall in the section, NNPC is obligated, in the absence of any prior consent by relevant third parties, to deny your request.”