Court Sets Hearing of MRA’s N15m FOI Suit Against NNPC, Others for March 24

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Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Member of Media Rights Agenda’s (MRA) FOI Legal
Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Member of Media Rights Agenda’s (MRA) FOI Legal

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed hearing for March 24, 2020, in the N15 million suit filed by Media Rights Agenda against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for non-compliance with its obligations under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011.

In the motion on notice filed before Honourable Justice Taiwo Obayomi Taiwo, the court fixed the hearing date after report of service was given at the last adjourned date.

The motion which will be argued by the MRA’s legal representative, Mrs.Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga against the NNPC, its Group Managing Director and the Attorney-General of the Federation who are named as respondents in the suit is seeking nine declarations and orders from the court.

The suit is praying the court to grant the following declarations and orders on behalf MRA:

  • A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the NNPC to proactively publish the information specified in Section 2(3)(a)-(f) of the FOI Act and widely disseminate the information as required by Section 2(4) of the Act amounts to a breach of the corporation’s statutory duty under Section 2(3) and (4) of the Act and constitutes a violation of MRA’s rights of access to information established and guaranteed by Sections 1(1) and 2(4) of the Act;
  • A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the NNPC to proactively publish the title and address of its appropriate officer to whom applications for information should be sent as required by Section 2(3)(f) of the FOI Act amounts to a breach of its statutory duty under the Act and constitutes a violation of MRA’s rights of access to information established and guaranteed by Section 1(1) and 2(4) of the Act;
  • A declaration that the NNPC’s failure to submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation its annual reports on its implementation of the FOI Act, covering the fiscal years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and to make the report available to the public amounts to a breach of its statutory duty and a gross violation of Section 29(1) and (2) of the Act;
  • An order compelling the NNPC to comply with the provisions of Section 2(1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the FOI Act by publishing and widely disseminating and making readily available to members of the public the information specified in Section 2(3)(a) to (f) of the Act within 30 days of the order of the court;
  • An order compelling the NNPC to ensure the provision of appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information and records held by it for the effective implementation of the Act within 30 days of the court’s order;
  • An order compelling the NNPC to submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation its annual reports on its implementation of the FOI Act covering the fiscal years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, as required by Section 29(1) of the Act within 30 days of the court’s order; and
  • An order directing the NNPC and its Group Managing Director to pay MRA N15 million as exemplary and aggravated damages for the flagrant and unlawful violation of the organization’s right of access to information established and guaranteed by Sections 1(1) and 4 of the Act.