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FOI: Group Set To Sue EFCC, NSCDC, ISOPADEC

By Walter Duru
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For their refusal to respond to requests made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, a Non-governmental Organisation, Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption-MIIVOC says it is set to sue the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission-EFCC, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps-NSCDC and Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission-ISOPADEC.

MIIVOC Information/FOI Officer, Phillip Inyang disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Calabar, Wednesday.

According to him, the affected Public Institutions are notorious for ignoring FOI requests, a development he described as unacceptable. “We are set to seek judicial review.”

In an FOI request dated 15th March, 2016, addressed to the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and made available to newsmen, MIIVOC made a 9-point demand bothering on accountability and transparency.

“We are concerned about the raging controversy over the number and positions occupied by Policemen in the EFCC. We are also worried over doubts on the legitimacy of a Board resolution by the EFCC, which allegedly granted autonomy to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit-NFIU and which Nigeria registered with the international community. Considering the controversy trailing the above and more, we invoke the FOI Act, 2011 to demand for clarifications.”

“… we most respectfully invoke sections 1, 2 (3) (V), 2 (3) (Vi) of the Freedom of Information Act (2011) to request the following: “Details of the Board meeting of the Commission that passed the controversial Resolution granting NFIU autonomy. This should include date, venue, time of commencement and closing, attendance and certified true copy of minutes of the said meeting; Details of the funds and assets recovered/seized by the Commission between 2005 and 2015 and their whereabouts/present status; Details of Police officers posted to EFCC, their qualifications, ranks, duties as well as dates of secondment to the EFCC; Details of police officers that are in charge of operations, sections and units of EFCC; Details of senior Police officers of EFCC occupying Directorate positions and the number that should be in directorate positions, if not for the Police officers; The volume and value of EFCC funds (INCLUDING NON-APPROPRIATED FUNDS) that go to the Police, Ministry of Trade and Investment Special Control Unit Department, Training of staff, number of officials of the EFCC trained (and other officials who are not EFCC officials) and how much was saved from EFCC budget in 2015 given all the international funding and support it obtained in 2014/2015 and details of support and funding from the international community in 2015, especially, funds from GIABA/ECOWAS, DFID/British Council and World Bank.”

Others are: “Details of EFCC officials trained by international agencies in 2015 and how much was saved in the budget of the EFCC because of this support; Financial statement of the Commission as at December 31st, 2015.”

In the case of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps-NSCDC, the group demanded for details of an alleged secret recruitment by the Corps. The request reads in part:

“Considering the controversy trailing an alleged secret recruitment by the NSCDC, of which the beneficiaries are believed to be undergoing training in the Corps’ facilities in Katsina State presently, we invoke the FOI Act, 2011 to demand for clarifications on:

“Details of candidates recently employed by the NSCDC undergoing training in Katsina State. This should include their names, LGA and States of origin, qualifications and ranks and should be certified true copies; Details of the procedures/processes followed in the recruitment exercise. This should include advertorials and other steps preceding the recruitment exercise, in conformity with the provisions of relevant laws and details of those shortlisted for interview and those that made the final list.”

Other information sought are: “details of late personnel of NSCDC that may have been replaced through the recruitment exercise and details of all NSCDC staff recruited under the present leadership.”

For Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission-ISOPADEC, MIIVOC made a 5-point request, asking for information on issues bothering on alleged misappropriation of funds and breach of thrust.

“We are concerned about the raging controversy over the deplorable state of the newly constructed ISOPADEC Secretariat. We are also worried over the seeming poor impact of the Commission in the lives of oil producing communities in the state, as well as the unstable financial status of the oil Commission. Considering the controversy trailing the above and in view of the right of Imo citizens and Nigerians at large to know, we most respectfully invoke sections 1, 2 (3) (V), 2 (3) (Vi) of the Freedom of Information Act (2011) to request the following:

“Details of the contract for the construction of the new ISOPADEC Secretariat; the documents should be certified true copies and are expected to contain: name of contractor(s), value, duration and specifications, payment pattern, the procurement process and all other details pertaining to the contract; Financial statement of the Commission as at December 31st, 2015 and details of funds that the Commission received between January 2012 and December, 2015.”

Others are: “Total staff strength of the Commission, their departments, ranks and communities of origin and details of Projects executed by the Commission between January, 2012 and December, 2015, including their values, duration of project, date of award, specifications, procurement process, payment pattern and all other details pertaining to the projects.”

Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption- MIIVOC is a coalition of communication, civil society and human rights activists and groups with special interest in the war against Injustice, Violence, immorality and corruption, as well as the protection of human rights, from a communication perspective.