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FOIA violation: Court grants ICIR’s application for judicial review against CCB

THE Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, has granted an application for judicial review of the decision of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to decline access to asset declaration forms.  

The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), a non-profit news agency, had in January written a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the CCB requesting for the “details of all asset declaration of all cabinet members in the present administration” as well as other key appointed officials.

In its response over two months after, the CCB however declined to provide the documents because the FOI Act “has exempted asset declarations of public officers from documents that can be accessed via reliance on the provisions”.

On February 19, The ICIR filed an ex-parte motion seeking a declaration that the bureau’s decision amounts to wrongful denial and a violation to the applicant’s right of access to information guaranteed by law.

Kingsley Nnajiaka, a legal officer at the Centre for Social Justice, represented the plaintiffs at the sitting on Tuesday.

Inyang Ekwo granted the ex-parte application for review “subject to an application for order of mandamus”. Judicial review is a process through which the court examines actions of other arms of government to determine whether they are in accordance with established laws.

“The process of judicial review is to be filed within fifteen days and the respondent is to be served at least seven days to the next hearing,” the honourable justice added.

The trial was adjourned by the court to Wednesday, June 26, at which time the CCB is expected to make an appearance for its defence.

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