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MIIVOC sues AGF over failure to disclose NDDC forensic audit report

By Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri
01 October 2021   |   3:04 am
The Media Initiative Against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC), has sued the Attorney General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN)

Malami

The Media Initiative Against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC), has sued the Attorney General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), over his refusal to disclose the forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

In a statement issued, yesterday, by the Press Officer of MIIVOC, Philip Inyang, the group said the suit marked: FHC/B/CS/122/2021, seeking to compel the AGF to disclose the report in line with the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011, was filed at the Federal High Court, Benin City, Edo State.

Executive Director of MIIVOC, Dr. Walter Duru, said: “Following the submission of the NDDC’s forensic audit report to Malami by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, MIIVOC asked the AGF to publish the report.

“We followed up with an FoI request. In a letter dated September 7, 2021, we also sent a FoI request to the AGF, asking for a copy of the forensic audit report on the NDDC.”

In a letter dated September 14, 2021, and signed by Assistant Chief State Counsel, Hamza Adeyinka Omolara, with reference number: MJ/7215/1/26, the AGF’s office invoked section six of the FoI Act, seeking an extension of time to treat the request.

“In another letter dated September 20, 2021, marked: MJ/7215/1/28, Malami invoked Section 5 (1) of the FoI Act, 2011, informing us that our request had been transferred to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, which he said, has a greater interest in the matter.

“Section five says ‘may’ and not ‘shall’. The AGF has the document and there is no reason he should not release it to Nigerians. We are not satisfied with Malami’s response, hence our decision to invoke section 20 of the FoI Act, seeking judicial review,” the statement added.

Counsel to MIIVOC, Ayodele Otuakhena, therefore, accused the Federal Ministry of Justice of abuse of the FoI Act.