Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has instituted legal proceedings against the Ojodu Local Government Council in Lagos over its refusal to provide the organization with information it requested pursuant to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011.
MRA’s lawyer, Ms Chioma Nwaodike, filed the action at the Ikeja judicial division of the Lagos State High Court in December 2016 claiming N1 million as exemplary and aggravated damages against the Local Government Council for alleged unlawful violation of the organisation’s right of access to information guaranteed by Sections 1(1) and 4 of the FOI Act.
The Suit arose from a letter written by MRA on November 4, 2016 to Ojodu Local Government Council pursuant to the FOI Act, seeking information on the supply of water to a community known as Araromi Zion Estate located in the Akiode area of the Council.
In the suit, MRA is seeking leave of the court to apply for judicial review under the FOI Act and seek the following reliefs:
- A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by Ojodu LCDA to disclose or make available to MRA the information requested by the organization in its letter to the Council dated November 4, 2016, amounts to a violation to MRA’s right of access to Information established and guaranteed by Section 1(1), and Section 4 of the FOI Act;
- A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by Ojodu LCDA to disclose or make available to MRA the information it requested amounts to wrongful denial of access to information under section 7(5) of the FOI Act;
- An order of mandamus compelling Ojodu LCDA to disclose or make available to MRA the information it requested, namely: Why water supply is not being extended to the Araromi Zion Estate; details of any plans that the Lagos State Water Corporation has for providing portable water to the Araromi Zion Estate and adjourning areas; the cost estimate for executing the plan to supply portable pipe-borne water to the estate, if any; the cost of maintenance of both old and new water works facilities and equipment that supply water in the area; and the total amount collected as charges or fees for water supply in the estate from 2012 till date ;
- An order compelling the Attorney General of the Federation to initiate criminal proceedings against the Ojodu LCDA for the offence of wrongful denial of access to information under Section 7(5) of the FOI Act; and
- The Sum of N1 million only as exemplary and aggravated damages for the unlawful violation of the MRA’s right of access to Information established and guaranteed by Section 1(1), and 4 of the FOI Act and the wrongful denial of access to information under Section 7 (4) of the Act.
MRA is by the project seeking to alleviate the plight of residents of the Araromi Zion Estate, who are being denied public services and social amenities, ranging from lack of access roads, lack of portable water supply, lack of electricity supply, lack of health services, amongst others, by the Lagos State Government and its relevant agencies as well as the Ojodu LCDA.
MRA launched last year a series of Freedom of Information requests to the relevant government agencies to ascertain why the community was being denied public services and social amenities.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.