CBN Governor Sued Over Fuel Subsidy Payment Documents For 2011

lamido sanusi lawsuit fuel subsidy documents for 2011 Nigeria’s central Bank Gov, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Feb 19, 2012 – CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi Sued Over Fuel Subsidy Payment Documents For 2011

2 Major civil society groups, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) have sued the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Sanusi Lamido over “alleged failure to release information and documents on the authorization by the CBN of over N1.26 trillion as subsidy for 2011.” www.naijagists.com

The suit number FHC/IK/CS/23//2012 filed last Thursday at the Federal High Court Ikeja followed a Freedom of Information request by SERAP to Mr Sanusi dated 15 January 2012.

Also joined as party to the suit is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Mr Muhammed Adoke.

The motion exparte with suit number was brought pursuant to section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act, and Order 34 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009, and signed by the organization’s Staff Attorney Chinyere Nwafor.

The plaintiff is arguing that under the FOI Act, it has the right to request for or gain access to information which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution.

 The information being sought relates to the spending on fuel ‘subsidy’ in 2011 and in particular the authorization of the sum of N1.26 trillion paid by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The groups said that, “Since the 1st Defendant has failed to provide the information requested by the Plaintiffs, within the time limit stipulated by the FOI Act, it is therefore submitted that he has, by that very fact, refused to give the Plaintiffs access to the information requested for. Furthermore, the power or discretion to refuse to give access to information requested for cannot be exercised in vacuo. Such a power or discretion must be provided for by the FOI Act itself.”

 The organization is also seeking the following reliefs:

A.    A DECLARATION that the issuance and release of the sum of N1.26 trillion above the initial sum of N250 billion allocated for fuel subsidy for 2011 without authorization by an Act of the National Assembly to wit; a Supplementary Appropriation Act, is a breach of section 80(2), (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as such is unlawful and unconstitutional.

B.    A DECLARATION that by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the 1st Defendant/Respondent is under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiffs/Applicants with up to date information on government/public spending relating to fuel ‘subsidy’ in 2011, including:
(a)    The basis on which the issuance and release of the sum of N1.26 trillion on fuel ‘subsidy’ was made
(b)    Detailed information and justifications for the issuance and release of money for fuel ‘subsidy’ which rose  from N250 billion for 2011 to over N1.3 trillion by the end of October 2011, N1.5 trillion by December 2011 and subsequently N1.26 trillion  without supplementary appropriation authorising the expenditure.

C. AN ORDER OF MANDAMUS directing and or compelling the 1st Defendant/Respondent to provide the Plaintiffs/Applicants with up to date information on government/public spending relating to fuel ‘subsidy’ in 2011, including:

(a)    The basis and expectations on which the issuance of the sum of N1.26 trillion on fuel ‘subsidy’ was made

(b)    Detailed information and justifications for the issuance and release of money for fuel ‘subsidy’ which rose from N250 billion for 2011 to over N1.3 trillion by the end of October 2011, N1.5 trillion by December 2011 and subsequently N1.26 trillion without supplementary appropriation authorising the expenditure.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application.