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Court says SERAP can seek order compelling FG to publish audited reports

Court says SERAP can seek order compelling FG to publish audited reports
May 29
14:33 2017

The federal high court in Lagos has granted the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) leave to seek an order compelling the federal government to publish audited reports between 1999 and 2015.

Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, the judge, gave the ruling on Friday after SERAP and Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) filed a suit at the court.

Timothy Adewale, counsel to SERAP, told the court that the suit marked FHC/L/CS/57/2017 was filed after the federal government failed to provide the audited reports they requested through freedom of information.

Adewale argued the failure of government to provide the information negates the principle of open government partnership (OGP) to which Nigeria is a signatory.

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“Refusal to publish the audited reports so that Nigerians can have the opportunity to carefully review the reports goes far beyond the limitations allowed under the FOI Act and international law, and negates the principle of open government partnership (OGP) to which Nigeria is a signatory,” he said.

“The right to receive information without any interference or distortion should be based on the principle of maximum disclosure, and a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.

“By virtue of section 1(1) of the FOI Act 2011, SERAP and PLSI are entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution. By the provisions of Section 2(7) and 31 of the FOI Act, the defendant/respondent is a public official/institution.”

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The case was adjourned to June 28.

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