By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, has been dragged before a Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State, by a non-governmental organization (NGO) known as Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC) over an alleged violation of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
In the suit filed on Wednesday with number FHC/B/CS/122/2021, the group wants Mr Malami to be compelled to release a copy of the Forensic Audit Report on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari recently through him by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio.
A statement by MIIVOC said it was also filing the suit as part of activities marking the celebration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information 2021.
In the statement, the Executive Director of the group, Mr Walter Duru, also explained that the step became necessary following what he described as an unsatisfactory response of the Attorney General to a request for a copy of the NDDC Audit Report brought, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
“Following the submission of the report of the Forensic Audit on NDDC to the Attorney General by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, MIIVOC’s Executive Director, Dr Walter Duru, had, during a live programme on Africa Independent Television (AIT) called on the Attorney General to publish the report for the consumption of members of the public. We followed up with an FOI request.
“In a letter dated September 7, 2021, MIIVOC sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Attorney General of the Federation, asking for a copy of the Forensic Audit Report on the NDDC.
“In a letter dated September 14, 2021, signed by Hamza Adeyinka Omolara, Assistant Chief State Counsel, with reference number MJ/7215/1/26, the Attorney General’s office invoked section 6 of the Freedom of Information Act, seeking extension of time to deal with the request.
“In another letter dated September 20, 2021, with reference number MJ/7215/1/28, also signed by Hamza Adeyinka Omolara, Assistant Chief State Counsel, the Attorney General further invoked Section 5 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, informing us that our request had been transferred to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, who, according to him, has a greater interest in the matter. Section five says ‘may’ and not shall.
“The Attorney General has the document and there is no reason why he should not release it to us. We are not satisfied with the Attorney General’s response, hence, our decision to invoke section 20 of the FOI Act, seeking judicial review,” Mr Duru said.
Also speaking, Ayodele Otuakhena, Esq of FOI Counsel, who filed the suit on behalf of MIIVOC accused the Federal Ministry of Justice of abuse of the FOI Act.
According to him, “there is overwhelming evidence that the Attorney General has copies of the report, as he received the same from the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. He is therefore under obligation to release it.”
MIIVOC’s other activities marking the International Day for Universal Access to Information 2021 include a Freedom of Information Implementation review meeting for FOI Desk officers of public institutions in Edo State, supported by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption programme, funded by the European Union, but managed by the British Council, as well as other enlightenment programmes.
Other highlights of the celebration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information 2021 in Edo State was a TweetChat on the ‘Right to Know’, with the theme: Building Back Better with Access to Information, organized by the FOI Counsel.
Firm Rewards Ibadan Traders for Sorting Waste to Ease Recycling
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Some traders in Bodija market, Ibadan, Oyo State, have been rewarded for segregating their waste to make it easier for recycling.
The beneficiaries were given gift items like Bluetooth headsets, customised simple chest bags, and customised face caps by the waste management consultant to the Oyo State government, Mottainai Recycling, on Friday through an initiative known as Recyclables for Rewards.
At the campaign, in its third year, two tonnes of recyclables were recovered by the company, which is managing waste collection in the state.
The Managing Director of Mottainai Recycling, Mr Adey Adewuyi, sensitised traders, buyers and passers-by in Bodija market and its environs on how the waste they generate could be a source of wealth.
Mr Adewuyi, represented by the firm’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Ms Deborah Fadeyi, urged the traders to embrace proper waste disposal and management habits like segregating their waste at source.
He further encouraged them to avoid dumping waste on the median, warning that those caught erring would be fined and punished according to law.
Also, the Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Environmental Matters, Mr Ademola Aderinto, explained that the initiative was aimed at creating awareness among traders and residents to segregate their waste at source and recover as much plastics before it enters into the water bodies and landfills.
He said that the event showcases the economic and social benefits of recycling, adding that “the event is aimed at making the good people of Oyo State see value in what they consider as waste.”
“These wastes would have otherwise ended up in landfills and water bodies which will contribute to the pollution of the environment,” he added.
Mr Aderinto discouraged the act of dumping waste on the median by the market men and women and also encouraged them to sort out their waste to ease the act of recycling, noting that the government will do more to eradicate the issue of improper waste disposal and management in the state.
“There was also an adequate and effective sensitisation and awareness campaign in the market on the need for proper waste management. They were also enlightened on the economic benefits of recycling instead of allowing their recyclables to end up on the median, water bodies or the landfills,” he said.
Number of Meters Installed Under MAP Not Impressive—Jos DisCo
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Jos Electricity Distribution Plc (JED) has decried the slow pace of meter provision to customers and has craved for more efforts toward achieving the metering goals of the company.
The Managing Director of the Jos DisCo, Mr Abdu Mohammed, in a statement, said the slow adoption of the prepaid metering system was making things difficult for the organisation, which aims to bridge the metering gap.
Speaking during a meeting with vendors handling the company’s Meters Asset Providers (MAP) programme, the energy expert noted that the firm plans to provide 400,000 meters to its customers.
“If you look at the number of meters installed by MAP, it is not impressive. We still have a very long way to go.
“We will need to expeditiously bridge the metering gap to provide efficient and effective services and upscale our revenue
”It is our desire to provide 400,000 meters to our customers soon,” he said at the gathering.
The JED managing director asked the vendors to submit their meters deployment plans for 2023, maintaining that all plans must be strictly adhered to.
Mr Mohammed, who expressed optimism that most of the company’s customers would soon be metered, said MAP was introduced to ease access to meters and eradicate billing disputations.
In their separate responses, the representatives of Mojec, Triple Seven, Skyruns and Momas, all vendors with JED, promised to live up to their mandates of ensuring all customers were metered.
Aminu Adamu Lands in Prison for Insulting Aisha Buhari
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A student of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Mr Aminu Adamu, has been remanded in prison for allegedly ‘insulting’ the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs Aisha Buhari.
A few days ago, news filtered in that Mr Adamu was kidnapped by some security officials to Aso Rock, Abuja, over his post on Twitter that the President’s wife was feeding fat on the taxes paid by the poor masses.
This did not go down well with the First Lady, and the student, who is reportedly due to write his final year exams next week, was taken away from his campus and allegedly tortured.
This action angered many Nigerians, who asked Mrs Buhari to release the man or charge him in court.
On Tuesday, the student was charged to court by the police, and he was remanded in the Suleja correctional facility in Niger State, pending when his bail application would be heard next Wednesday.
According to his lawyer, Mr C.K. Agu, the student was arraigned before a court sitting in Abuja, but he pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him.
“Even in the court session yesterday, we notified the judge about the efforts made to have him released on bail, but we did not receive any reply from the police.
“We applied to the court to release the student on bail on health grounds and the fact that he will sit for the exam on December 5.
“The court has ordered the police to provide the bail application before it for consideration between Tuesday and Wednesday,” Mr Agu informed BBC Hausa Service.
On June 9, 2022, Mr Adamu posted a picture of Mrs Aisha Buhari at the presidential primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja held two days earlier and wrote in the Hausa language, “Su mama anchi kudin talkawa ankoshi,” which loosely means “Mama is feeding fat on poor people’s money.”
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