THE Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to “provide information on the spending of the alleged missing N30 trillion which represents some accruable income during the last four years of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.”
The judgment was delivered last week by Justice Ibrahim Buba, following a Freedom of Information suit number FHC/L/ CS/196/2015 brought by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
SERAP’s suit followed revelations by former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo, that, at least, N30 trillion “has either been stolen or unaccounted for, or grossly mismanaged over the last few years under Okonjo- Iweala’s watch.”
Justice Buba ruled that: “Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government have no legally justifiable reason for refusing to provide SERAP with the information requested for. The court has gone through the application and agrees that SERAP’s application has merits and the argument is not opposed. SERAP’s application is granted as prayed. SERAP commenced this proceeding by way of originating summons on February 23, 2015, and filed February 25, 2015. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government filed a Memorandum of Conditional Appearance, a Notice of Preliminary Objection and written address, all undated but filed on September 29, 2015…He who wants equity must do equity. This suit was filed on February 25, 2015. And, from the record of the court, it was served on Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government on July 3, 2015. It took about three months for them to come up with technical response to the simple request for information under the FOI…“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and the Federal Government have, therefore, been caught by Order 29 of the rules of this court, which requires that an application shall be made within 21 days after service on the defendants of the originating summons…”