Two legal practitioners, Olukunle Ogheneovo Edun Esq and Darlington Ugo Ehirim Esq., have instituted an action before the Federal High Court in Abuja, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act against the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), and Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar.
The case with suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/28/2019 which was brought by way of an Originating Summons, pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, and other relevant laws is praying the Honourable Court for reliefs following the refusal of the Defendants to oblige the plaintiffs the information sought, which includes amongst others, copies of the Assets and Liabilities Declarations Forms of the 2nd Defendant and his Children of the age of 18 years and below, submitted to the code of Conduct Bureau.
The plaintiffs are seeking from the Court the grant of the reliefs among others:
A Declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, Paragraph 3 (c) of Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Article 9 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the defendants, particularly the 1st Defendant, are under a legal obligation to provide the plaintiffs within 7 days the information requested as contained in plaintiff’s letter dated February 5th, 2019, relating to the declared assets and liabilities of the 2nd Defendant and his children of 18 years and below; that the refusal or neglect to do same is a violation of the plaintiff’s right; that the failure to avail the plaintiffs the aforesaid information is deemed to have failed, refused and/or neglected to file/lodge/submit the mandatory and duly completed Assets and Liabilities Declaration Forms to the Code of Conduct Bureau; that a public office or former public officer who fails/failed to formally declare his Assets and Liabilities and that of his children of 18 years of age and below is not entitled to hold/remain in any public office and therefore should be subject for criminal investigation and prosecution.
The plaintiff also sought for among others AN ORDER compelling the 1st Defendant to investigate and /or prosecute/charge the 2nd Defendant before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for his failure, refusal and/or neglect to file/submit and/or lodge his completed Assets and Liabilities Declaration forms, and that of his children of 18 years of age and below within the statutory period prescribed by law; AN ORDER suspending the 2nd Defendant or directing the 2nd Defendant to step aside in the interim as the Chairman/Member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, pending the conclusion of the criminal investigation, and/or prosecution of the 2nd Defendant.
The Application is supported by an eight paragraph affidavit deposed to by the first plaintiff, Olukunle Ogheneovo Edun, and a written address wherein the plaintiff canvassed fine points of law in support of their argument.
TheNigerialawyer (TNL) recalls that the plaintiffs had earlier requested from the defendants, copies of the Assets and liabilities Declarations Forms of the 2nd Defendant (Mr. Danladi Umar) and his Children of the age of 18 years and below believed to have been submitted to the code of Conduct Bureau, which was refused them. Responding to the request, the Chairman of the Tribunal said that he is only answerable to the President.