A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to court over “failure to disclose their sources of spending on their respective electoral campaigns and other operations linked to the February 2015 general elections.”
The suits filed last week at the Federal High Court Ikoyi followed Freedom of Information requests to PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, and APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, dated 18 November 2014.
The originating summons against the PDP with suit number FHC/CS/1969/2014 and against the APC with suit number FHC/CS/1968/2014 were brought pursuant to section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, and signed by SERAP Senior Staff Attorney, Olukayode Majekodunmi.
The plaintiff is arguing that under the FOI Act, “Nigerians have the right to know about spending by their political parties especially the major parties with a strong possibility to assume government in the future. Citizens should be able to examine financial transactions of parties and be certain that politicians are working for their voters, not their benefactors.”
The plaintiff also argues that, both the APC and PDP “Cannot take the position that the FOI Act does not apply to them because to do so will seriously undermine citizens’ trust in their political parties and lack of trust will inevitably destroy confidence in the system and decrease citizens’ interest and participation in democratic processes.”
The plaintiff also said that “Without free and fair elections there can be no democracy. However, elections are only one part of the democratic process, and a fair and effective electoral system must be founded in an adequate democratic infrastructure and responsibility of political leaders.”
The plaintiff wants the court to determine “Whether by virtue of the provision of section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants are under an obligation to provide the Plaintiff with the information requested for.”
The plaintiff is seeking: Among officers, a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants are under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff with up to date information relating to Information about the spending and sources of income derived from federal, state and other institutions, agencies or persons for the campaigns and other operations of the Defendants related to the February 2015 elections.
“The total amounts that have been spent and the anticipated spending and the sources of any such spending related to the February 2015 general elections, as well as the total contributions received by the Defendants for or on behalf of their Presidential candidate and candidates for the governorship elections and the sources of any such contributions.
In its FOI requests, the plaintiff had expressed “serious concerns about the risks of corruption during electoral campaigns for the February 2015 general elections, especially the role of money in politics and the persistent failure generally to comply with national and international law on political party finance.”
According to the plaintiff, “Releasing the information will help to address the perception among the citizens that the major political parties in the countries are less transparent and accountable. The lack of transparency and accountability in political finance is seriously undermining the legitimacy and credibility of the democratic and electoral processes, and invariably contributing to denying the citizens the right to effective participation in their own government.”
The plaintiff further argued that, “Transparency, accountability, integrity and independence of political parties is also important to achieve greater transparency in public life, to curb the influence of money in politics, to promote a level playing field, and to remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders and the risks of conflicts of interest, including undue influence and corruption in the funding of political parties.”
According to the plaintiff, “By virtue of Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information being requested. Under the FOI Act, your party is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”
The plaintiff also said that, “By Sections 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of the FOI Act, there is a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing the necessary information are widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means. The information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act.”
FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.
Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA
The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.
By: Akujobi Amadi
JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”
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