A civil rights lawyer, Mr. Osaze Agbonifo has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to refuse the request to make available to the public details of security spending in the war against insurgency.
According to the suit filed by Agbonifo, releasing security spending to the public will breach the provision of Freedom of Information Act.
A civil society organisation, Global Integrity Crusade Network, has applied for the release of security spending on insurgency in the North East of Nigeria under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act).
Reacting to the development, the civil rights lawyer said the disclosure of such to any unauthorised body will be a breach of the provision of the Freedom of Information Act and not in the interest of the country’s image.
Respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/159018, are the Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministry of Defence, State Security Service, National Intelligence Agency, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Immigration Service.
In the suit dated December 20, 2018, filed by Oghenovo Otemu, the plaintiff asked the court for an order restraining the respondents from releasing details of security spendings to any CSOs acting under the FOI Act.
The plaintiff in the suit asked for an order restraining the respondents from releasing or furnishing Global Integrity Crusade Network or any civil society organisation, persons or entities that have applied for any information relating to or connected with the war against insurgency in the North East under the FOI Act.
He also asked the court not to allow the respondents release the amount received as budgetary allocations from the federal government of Nigeria for counter terrorism operation in the year 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
“They should not release the list of security hardware and equipment procured for counter terrorism operations in the year 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 so we can confirm, if the approved budgetary allocation were used for the intended purpose.
“The list of contracts awarded, executed on ongoing in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 as well as of list of newspapers, journals and other media outfit wherein the bidding exercise for the said contracts were published to be able us ascertain if the procedure laid down in the Public Procurement Act No. 65 of 2007 were duly followed.
“The breakdown of coat expended by your office on personnel running in the year 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 to enable us ascertain if more than one third of the budgetary allocation meant for counter terrorism operations was not used for payment of allowances to only top management staffer should also not be released.”
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.
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