FoI Act: NUJ Sues FCT Minister & David Mark's Daughter
Huhuonline.com can report that the Abuja Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has dragged the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed and the Mandate Secretary of the Social Development Secretariat of the
FCT Administration (FCTA), Mrs. Blessing Onyeche Onuh, before an Abuja High Court.
In the application filed by Mr. Austine Uno Esq, on behalf of the union, the applicant wants the court to compel Mrs. Onuh, one of the daughters of Senate President David Mark, to produce detailed information on all activities, incomes, expenditure, funding of NGOs, rehabilitation of prostitutes, hawkers and beggars by her office.
The NUJ claimed that that the SDS has continually ignored its letter to obtain the said information as required by law, since October 14, 2011.
The Abuja council of the union is therefore seeking the relief of the court to enforce the provisions of the FoI Act 2011 as contained in Section 2 and Sections 6, 7 and 8 of the Act.
Chairman of the Council, Mr. Jacob Edi, disclosed that it has become necessary for the media to assert itself and begin to enforce the provisions of the FoI Act by holding the government accountable to the people.
According to Edi, 'The press had fought hard, waited long for the bill to come to life and now it is time to hold all managers of public office accountable to the people.'
While explaining that the suit would mark the commencement of a new innovation in the FCT, he said the NUJ is determined to hold all agencies under the FCTA accountable to the masses.
The council chairman, who commended the Senator Smart Adeyemi-led Senate Committee on the FCT for unravelling the discrepancies in the activities of the FCDA on procurement and award of contracts in foreign currency, lamented that such contractual awards and its financing had called for verification.
He however enjoined the committee to further investigate the alleged bloated contracts and white elephant projects, as the council has begun the compilation of list of all road contracts already paid for and yet to be executed.
Recall that the National Assembly had recently passed the Freedom of Information Act 2011 into law, just as media pundits have described the matter before the court as a test case of the FOI Act.