Group To Sue EFCC, Civil Defence Corps Over Access To Information

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman
Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman

A civil society group, Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption, MIIVOC, has threatened to sue the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, ISOPADEC, for refusing to respond to requests made to them for public records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, 2011.

The group’s media/Freedom of Information, FOI, officer, Phillip Inyang, who said this on Wednesday while addressing newsmen in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, observed that the affected public institutions are notorious for ignoring FOIA requests, a development he described as unacceptable.

In the request made to the EFCC dated March 15 and addressed to the acting chairman of the agency, Ibrahim Magu, MIIVOC made a nine-point demand, including information about assets recovery, the decision to grant autonomy to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, the involvement of police in the agency’s work as well as its dealings with the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, SCUML, a department in the Ministry of Trade and Investment

On the autonomy of the NFIU, the group wrote: “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.”

The group also sought information on details of “funds and assets recovered/seized by the Commission between 2005 and 2015 and their whereabouts/present status.”

By far the most detailed information demanded by MIIVOC is in connection with the police including details of the number of policemen posted to EFCC, “their qualifications, ranks, duties as well as dates of secondment.”

The FOIA request included information on 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.”

The group also wants information on details of support and funding from the international funding organisations in 2015, particularly the Inter – Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, GIABA, DFID, British Council and World Bank.

In the case of the NSCDC, the group demanded for details concerning an alleged secret recruitment by the Corps. Specifically, it wants details of “candidates recently employed by the NSCDC undergoing training in Katsina State.”






     

     

    This, it said, 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 ISOPADEC, the group demanded for information on “the contract for the construction of the new ISOPADEC Secretariat,” including “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 details sought 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.”

     

     

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