From Paul Ibe
A Chieftain of All Progressive Congress in Enugu state, Mr Osita Okechukwu, on has dragged the Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke, before a federal high court siting in Abuja over the minister’s refusal to grant him access to information he requested under the Freedom of Information Act FOI.
Mr Okechukwu had written the minister requesting information concerning Nigeria’s crude oil swap variant and the certification of subsidy for the importation of kerosene and premium motor spirit; PMS, into the country by the Nigeria National Petroleum. Corporation, NNPC, from January 2012 to date.
Bayelsa State born Diezani is married to an Enugu State born retired Naval Officer, Allison Madueke but is representing her state of birth at the Federal Executive Council.
The minister according to Mr. Okechukwu, ignored the letter and blatantly refused the release of the information requested for.
Following the minister’s neglect and refusal to comply with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, Mr Okechukwu approached the court seeking for, amongst other reliefs, the declaration that the minister’s refusal to release the information he requested for amounts to a violation of section 7 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act, and therefore, wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional.
He therefore asked the court to make an order directing the minister to pay the sum of N5,000 (Five Thousand Naira) as penalty for the wrongful denial of his right of access to the information he sought as well as N1 million in general damages.
At the proceedings, Mr Okechukwu’s lawyer, Mrs Justina Obono-Obla, told the court that her client seeks a judicial review by way of mandamus to compel the minister to comply with his request and release the information being sought.