By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, ASABA
A Nigerian citizen, Christian Moses Abeh, has taken legal action against the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami(SAN), and Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, over the final report of the forensic audit of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
In his suit before a Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, the applicant is seeking an order of mandamus by the law court compelling the respondents to furnish him, within seven days, with the complete final report of the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Abeh in a motion on notice brought pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, by his solicitor, O. E Emetanjo Esq., further urged the court to “order the respondents to within seven days of the judgment of court to pay jointly and severally the sum of N500, 000 as fine to the applicant for failure to disclose the report of audit as demanded.”
His solicitor had in a letter dated September 17 to the first applicant, entitled: “Request for Public Records Pursuant to Section 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 Laws of the Federation”, applied for a certified true copy of the complete final report of the forensic audit of NDDC “received by you on 9/8/2011 from the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.”
“Our client’s reason for demanding for the said final report is because he is a Nigerian citizen of Oyede, Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State, who watches the activities of NDDC in other to report any illegal act or problem that happens at the said Commission to anti-graft agencies,” he stated.
Assistant Chief State Counsel, Hamza Omolara, who responded for the Minister of Justice, September 22, said: “I am further directed to inform you that pursuant to the provision of Section 5 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, your request has been transferred to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs who has greater interest in the information for their necessary action.”
The applicant in an affidavit in support of his motion, explained: “The first respondent received my said application and responded to the request through a letter dated September 22 and received by me on September 24 that my said exhibit CMA 1 has been transferred to the second respondent for further action.
“The letter dated September 22 is hereto marked as exhibit CMA 2.
“From September 22 till date, the first and second respondents have refused to disclose the record demanded in exhibit CMA 1,” he said.