Calabar-Ugep High Way: Lawyer Sues Chinese Company

In Breaking News, National News, Reports
Calabar - Ugep Highway
Calabar – Ugep Highway

by crossriverwatch admin

An Abuja based legal practitioner and human rights activist, Okoi Obono-Obla has sued a Chinese Construction Company, CCECC Nigeria Limited in a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

In an ex parte motion filed today in the registry of the High Court, the Plaintiff is seeking leave to apply for Judicial Review for an Order compelling the Defendant to furnish the Plaintiff with the public information requested from the Defendant dated the 8th February, 2013, concerning the following:

i. The contract awarded the CCECC Nigeria Limited by the Federal Ministry of Works of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 14th May, 2009, in respect of the rehabilitation of Calabar-Ugep-Katsina-Ala Road Section 11 in Benue/Cross River States of Nigeria Contract No. 5991; ii. The total contract sum, iii. The amount paid to CCECC Nigeria Limited by the Federal Government of Nigeria arising out of the said contract till date, iv. The amount of work so far done by CCECC on the said road, v. What is responsible for the slow pace of work on the said road; vi. The names, addresses, particulars of directors of CCECC Nigeria Limited, vii. Bill of Quantities for the project and any further Order (s) as the Court may deem fit and proper to make in the circumstances of this case.

In an affidavit in support of the ex parte motion, the Plaintiff avers that: “I am a Legal Practitioner and Civil Society Activist devoted to the promotion of the ideals of good governance, accountability and transparency in the Country.

“I am from Cross River State of Nigeria and a frequent user of the Calabar-Ugep-Katsina-Ala Highway in Benue/Cross River States of Nigeria. In furtherance of my work as a promoter of good governance and accountability the Plaintiff on the 8th February, 2013, wrote an application to the Defendant Company to furnish it with information on the contract awarded the CCECC Nigeria Limited by the Federal Ministry of Works of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 14th May, 2009, in respect of the rehabilitation of Calabar-Ugep-Katsina-Ala Road Section 11 in Benue/Cross River States of Nigeria Contract No. 5991.The Defendant Company was duly served with the said application on the 12th February, 2013”.

The Plaintiff further averred that “By the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, the Defendant Company is obligated to furnish me with the public information sought by me within seven days.
“The seven days within which the Defendant Company is allowed to furnish the information sought in my application expired on the 20th February, 2013, but the Defendant Company has failed, refused and or neglected to furnish me with the said public information.

“The Defendant Company though a private body is a public institution by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (supra) in so far as it is performs public functions and utilizes public funds from the Federal Government of Nigeria for the purpose of carrying out the contracts awarded it to rehabilitate a public highway.

“By the Freedom of Information Act (supra) any applicant who has been denied access to information, or any part thereof, can apply to the Court for a review of the matter within 30 days after the public institution has denied or is deemed to have denied the application, or within such further time as the Court may either before or after the expiration of the 30 days fix or allow.

“The Defendant has failed or refused to furnish me access to information sought. Where by virtue of the provision of the Freedom of Information (supra) a case of wrongful access is established the defaulting officer or institution shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira). That unless the Defendant is compelled by an Order of this Honorable Court it will continue to refuse me access to the information sought by me from it”.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the application.

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