MRA Gets Leave to Sue Code of Conduct Bureau for Non-Compliance with FOI Act

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Mr Monday Isah Adah. MRA's Lawyer
Mr Monday Isah Adah, MRA’s Lawyer

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has obtained  leave of the Federal High Court in Abuja to institute proceedings  against the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) for the agency’s failure to  fulfill its statutory obligations under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, which the civil society organization is claiming infringed its  right of access to information

The Court granted MRA leave to apply for, among other things, an order to compel CCB to comply with the provisions of the FOI Act, following a motion exparte filed on its behalf by its lawyer, Mr Monday Isah Adah.

In this suit filed against the Code of Conduct Bureau and its Chairman, joined as a party is the Attorney General of the Federation who has the responsibility of ensuring that all public institutions comply with the provisions of the Act by virtue of Section 29 (6) of the Act.

MRA is complaining that CCB has failed to perform its statutory duties under the FOI Act, following which it is asking the court to grant it leave to apply for judicial review and seek the following reliefs:

  • A declaration that the failure and/or refusal of the Code of Conduct Bureau to proactively disclose and widely disseminate information held in its custody as required by Section 2(3) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 amount to a violation of MRA’s rights of access to information established and guaranteed by Section 1(1), 2(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the Code of Conduct Bureau to proactively disclosure the title and address of the appropriate officer of the Bureau to whom an application for information shall be sent as required by Section 2(3) (f) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 amount to a violation of MRA’s rights of access to information established and guaranteed by Section 1(1), 2(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • A declaration that the failure and/or refusal by the Code of Conduct Bureau to comply with Section 13 of the Freedom Information Act, 2011 in training of its officials on the public’s right of access to information and records held by the Bureau for the effective implementation of the Act amount to a violation of MRA’s rights of access to information established and guaranteed by the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • A declaration that the failure of the Code of Conduct Bureau to widely disseminate and make readily available to members of the public through prints, electronics, online and at the office of the Bureau amounts to a flagrant violation of the provisions of Section 2 (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
  • A declaration that the Code of Conduct Bureau’s failure to submit its annual report of the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act amount to a violation of section 29(1) (2) of the Act.
  • An order of mandamus compelling the Code of Conduct Bureau to comply with the provisions of Sections 2 (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 by widely disseminating and making readily available to members of the Public through Prints, electronics, online and at the office of the 1st Respondent, the Information specified therein.
  • An order of mandamus compelling the Code of Conduct Bureau to train its officials on the public’s right of access to information and records held by the institution for the effective implementation of the Act.
  • An order of mandamus compelling the Code of Conduct Bureau to submit its annual report of the implementation of the Act as required by Section 29 (1) for 2018 and that of previous years.
  • The Sum of N15, 000.000.00 (Fifteen Million Naira) only on the footing of exemplary and aggravated damages for the unlawful violation of the Applicant’s right of access to Information established and guaranteed by Section 1(1) and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

This suit was instituted in line with MRA commitment to enforcing compliance with the FOI Act after public institutions have been inducted into its Enhanced FOI Hall of Shame.