Some civic groups, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD, Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) and Abia State NDDC Advocacy groups have sued the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for failing to make available its 2020 budget in compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
They based their argument in pursuant to the order 34 rules 3(1) & (2) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the Honorable Court for Judicial Review.
The groups in the earlier Freedom of information letter requested from NDDC its 2020 Budget and details of the procurement made during the period, vendors used in the procurement process, details of the bidding process, details of the contractors who executed the projects, details of the executed projects/location of the projects budgeted as well as the process of the disbursement to the contractors.
However, NDDC in its reply asked the groups to engage the National Assembly for the budget and demanded the sum of three hundred and fifty thousand Naira (N350,000.00) paid to the commission in certified bank as processing fee to compile the requested documents.
In a statement, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, Executive Director of FENRAD said the court action was taken to compel the commission to release all the details.
“Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation. It has focus on Human rights, Democracy and Good governance, Environmental Protection and Social Justice.
“FENRAD’s mission is to promote and protect the interest of the vulnerable groups and the environment through the direct involvement of all stakeholders to ensure sustainable development and ensure the Human rights are upheld and protected. FENRAD over the years have actively play a significant role in Community Development, community social mobilisation activities, policy analysis/Advocacy and Human Rights work, focuses on various aspects of Community development, security governance, budgetary monitoring and evaluation, social inclusion, human rights, social justice, and environmental management & Justice in the Niger-Delta Region.
“Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) works to promote resource democracy, social justice and human rights in the sectors of energy, mining, the environment and climate change, trade and public budgets. They engage in research and monitoring, popular education and advocacy in solidarity with communities, activists and scholars working to promote social change in Nigeria and other countries in the Gulf of Guinea region of Africa.
“Social Action mission is to promote platforms with the aim at encouraging change towards better democratic practices, people-oriented policy, improved livelihoods and human rights and advancing solutions to environmental and social problems. And their vision is to build a democratic order in which communities of conscious citizens contribute to and benefit from building of just societies and an environment adequate for production and sustenance of life.”