FoI Act: Labour Party drags Ogun to Court
The Ogun State chapter of Labour Party has dragged Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the state governor; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice as well as Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC) to court at Isabo in Abeokuta; the Ogun State capital, over their failure to furnish the party the necessary information required on the true ownership of the 12-storey building located at Ibara Roundabout in Abeokuta.
The party in a suit number AB/48C/17, seeks information on the true status of the land on which the said property was situated and the real owner of the building.
The claimant and applicants in the suit are Comrade Arabambi Abayomi, the Chairman of Ogun State Labour Party, and Labour Party, Ogun State chapter.
The party had filed the suit at the High Court, Isabo, against all the above defendants for violating the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.
The party said it had requested to know the true owner of the tall building at Ibara Roundabout but the government refused to furnish the party with the necessary information.
Section 1 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act empowers anybody to request information from a government institution whether he has a reason for requesting such information or not provided such information is not one excluded under the Act for national interest.
This right is enforceable in court if the requested information is not provided within seven days of making the request.
When the case came up for hearing at the last sitting, Counsel to the second respondents, Taiwo Lawal, pleaded for short adjournment for him to file his written address.
Taiwo Lawal, a Senior State counsel argued that the freedom of Information Act had not been domesticated in Ogun State, therefore the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
He said the address could have been submitted within the speculated time, but “the computer in the Ministry developed a fault’ which necessitated the delay.
He therefore prayed the court for an order extending the time that the claimant /respondents may file its counter-affidavit.