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Court Orders Nigerian Govt to Publish Names of Treasury Looters; We’re ready to abide– AGF

By Niyi Adeyi

LAGOS, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Federal Government (FG) to publish the names of high ranking public officials from whom public funds were recovered as well as the circumstances under which the looted funds were recovered.

The Wednesday’s ruling by Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari, followed a suit filed based on Freedom of Information suit number: FHC/CS/964/2016, by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

SERAP said it filed the suit sequel to disclosure last year by the Federal Government regarding funds recovered from some high-ranking public officials and private individuals.

According to the group, Justice Shagari agreed that “the Federal Government has legally binding obligations to tell Nigerians the names of all suspected looters of the public treasury past and present”.

SERAP joined as defendants in its suit the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

Justice Shagari in her ruling also granted the following reliefs:

”A DECLARATION that by virtue of the provisions of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants are under a binding legal obligation to provide the

”Plaintiff with up to date information relating to the following:

”To widely disseminate including on a dedicated website information about the names of high ranking public officials from whom public funds were recovered since May 2015

The circumstances under which stolen public funds were returned.

Reacting, SERAP’s Deputy Director Timothy Adewale, who argued on behalf of the body said the ruling: ”is a victory for justice, rule of law, transparency and accountability in this country.

”The judgment shows the way forward in the fight against corruption and impunity of perpetrators. We will do everything within the law to ensure full compliance by President MUhammadu Buhari and Acting President Osinbajo with this landmark judgment”Adewale affirmed.

Meanwhile, FG, has announced its resolve to abide by the court ruling by publishing the names of the alleged treasury looters.

Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), made the confirmation Wednesday in Abuja while addressing the State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council FEC meeting.

Malami restated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government totally agreed with the ruling of the court, hence its resolve to carry out the order as long as it did not amount to violation of the rules of the court.

 

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