Government contests applicability of FOI Act to Lagos State

The Lagos State government is praying the Court of Appeal to set aside the ruling of an Ikeja High Court that the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011 is applicable to the state even without domestication.

In the notice of appeal filed by its Director of Civil Litigation, Saheed Quadri, the state government is asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the November 28, 2017 ruling by Justice Beatrice Oke-Lawal,

The suit was instituted against the state government by Media Rights Agenda (MRA) over the failure of Ministry of Health to disclose records and information requested by the organization under the FOI Act.

Justice Oke-Lawal had in the ruling dismissed a preliminary objection raised by the government and the ministry to the suit and held that the FOI Act was validly made by the National Assembly and applicable to government at all levels in the country.

MRA filed the suit to compel compliance with a request it made in November 2016 asking, among other things, for details and copies of plans put in place by the ministry to provide the Araromi Zion Estate located in Akiode Area of Ojodu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) with health care services, the timeframe for the implementation of the plans as well as details of the budgets and cost estimates, if any.

In its notice of appeal, the government contends that Justice Oke-Lawal erred in law when she held that the FOI Act was applicable to the state. It accused the judge of failing to restrain herself from “pronouncing on the substantive matter when parties are yet to make their submissions.”

also alleged that MRA filed the suit outside the 30 days within which it is allowed to seek judicial review after it was denied or deemed to have been denied the information requested.

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