Tunde Olanrewaju, Abeokuta
Following the refusal of the Ogun State Government to furnish him with details of the state’s financial transactions in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, a businessman, Mr.Boladale Adekoya, has applied to the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, for an order to compel the Commissioners for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Works, Mr. Lekan Adegbite; and Justice and Attorney General, Mrs.Abimbola Akeredolu, to provide him with Certified True Copies of Ogun State’s debt profile between January 2011 and December 2013. The court, has fixed February 19, 2014 to hear the application.
Tongues have been wagging in recent times about the actual value of the debt Ogun State is owing financial institutions in the country. While critics of the Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, have been insisting that the state currently owes more than N200 billion to different banks, Adeosun has consistently maintained that the debt profile of Ogun State is a fraction of the amount being bandied about.
Adekoya, through his lawyer, Mr. Oladapo Olawale, had on January 14, 2014, requested for information on the state of finances and documentation of various projects so far awarded by the Amosun-led administration. Till date, the government is yet to respond to his demand, thus a recourse to the Federal High Court from who Adekoya is seeking an Order of Mandamus against Adeosun and Adegbite, who are second and third respondents in the suit respectively. The commissioner for Justice is the first respondent in the suit no: FHC/AB/CS/12/201filed before a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta.
The plaintiff asserted his right as an indigene of Ogun State to request for information on the activities of the state government or any of its agencies, under the Freedom of Information Act.
He prayed the court to compel the defendants to comply with the provision of the FoI Act by providing him with necessary information sought from their ministries as stipulated by the law. He alleged that both Adeosun and Adegbite had willfully, deliberately or negligently refused to honour his request as stipulated in the Act.
However, when contacted, Adeosun denied knowledge of the said request. She said, “I have not received the letter to which you refer”.