Lawan, Gbajabiamila dragged to court
Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila have been sued over their failure to heed a request to publish corruption probe reports since 1999 and indictments therefrom.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) dragged the two National Assembly leaders to court.
The suit followed recent public hearings by the National Assembly on corruption allegations in ministries, departments and agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
Reports of several public hearings and corruption probes have remained secret, and the allegations unresolved, SERAP said.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1065/2020 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Dr Lawal and Mr Gbajabiamila to send all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes to appropriate anti-corruption agencies to consider if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.”
SERAP is also seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel Dr Lawan and Mr Gbajabiamila to widely publish all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes by the Senate and the House of Representatives, and to disclose the number and names of any indicted suspects since 1999.”
SERAP is asking the court for “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Dr Lawan and Mr Gbajabiamila to sponsor a resolution to stop lawmakers from directly getting involved in the execution of projects by MDAs, and to ensure the proper and effective exercise of their oversight functions over corruption allegations including in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).”
The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated 25 July 2020, stating that: “The most effective way to deter corruption is to make the cost of engaging in these types of acts higher than the rewards. This end can only be accomplished by making public the reports and pursuing public accountability for corrupt acts.”
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “The court ought to compel Dr Lawan and Mr Gbajabiamila to publish the reports of hearings and probes and to send the reports to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for prosecution. Granting the reliefs sought would bolster public trust and confidence in the lawmakers’ oversight functions, and dispel the perception that many of the hearings and probes are politically motivated and serve personal interest, rather than the general public interests.”
The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
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